Thursday, January 5, 2017

Parents, Education Advocates Plan to Rally in D.C. to Block Betsy DeVos' Appointment as U.S. Education Secretary | Journey For Justice

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Parents, Education Advocates Plan to Rally in D.C. to Block Betsy DeVos' Appointment as U.S. Education Secretary
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CHICAGO  - Today, education activists from across the country announced a protest in Washington, D.C., to block the appointment of Betsy DeVos' appointment as U.S. Education Secretary. The controversial billionaire was chosen by President-Elect Donald Trump to head the post despite her ---record of destruction in Michigan and across the country. Parents from the nominee's home state of Michigan, along with people from across the nation, intend to converge on her confirmation hearing next week.

The Senate HELP Committee announced that following the January 11th hearing, an executive session will be scheduled for a vote on DeVos' nomination for education secretary. For two decades DeVos, along with her husband have funded a charter school lobby that shields  operators from oversight and accountability.

Jitu Brown, executive director of Journey for Justice Alliance (J4J), a coalition of scores of parent-led organizations across the U.S., said he has organized a caravan of activists, parents, students and others to demonstrate during DeVos' Senate Help Committee hearing on January 11th.  "We have no desire to see a person who has systematically destroyed public education in places like Detroit, carry that same agenda nationally as U.S. Education Secretary," Brown said. "Her polices have hurt black and brown children; disrupted teaching and learning in schools; and, her money has fueled 
a bevy of failed school reform experiments in school districts across the country."

The group will demand a meeting with Senate Help Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and encourage members of the Congressional Black Caucus to join them in fighting the appointment by testifying on DeVos' well-documented record.

Brown comments come day after organizers in Detroit held a news conference to denounce DeVos' nomination and call on President-Elect Trump to pick a "nominee that will work in the best interests of all of America's children" rather than an ideologue with deep pockets. "She is the architect of one of the biggest education disasters in the country---so bad even charter proponents acknowledge her failures," the J4J activist noted. "

Journey for Justice (J4J) is an alliance of grassroots community, youth, and parent-led organizations in 21 cities across the country: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Eupora, MS, Hartford, Los Angeles, Newark, Patterson, Camden, Jersey City and Elizabeth NJ, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York City, Oakland, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington D.C., and Wichita. Its advocate for community-driven alternatives to the privatization of and dismantling of public schools systems.




CAMPAIGN FOR SUSTAINABLE SCHOOL SUCCESS

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For decades, schools that serve African American and Latino students have been denied their fair share of education resources.  Without libraries, without a full range of college, career and enrichment course offerings, without counselors or supported teachers, students in our urban districts have had little to no opportunity to meet their full potential.  Now, corporate education reformers are destroying our public schools altogether, closing them, turning them over to private management, firing our teachers and squeezing education budgets in the name of “reform.”  This assault on public education is happening almost exclusively in communities of color. It must stop.
Closures, charters, firing teachers and other “dramatic interventions” haven’t worked in the past, and they aren’t working now.
The Campaign for Sustainable School Success-J4J is organizing to insure that our proposal for Sustainable School Transformation replaces the four interventions for struggling schools in U.S. Department of Education Policy.

THE SUSTAINABLE SUCCESS MODEL REQUIRES SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO:

  1. Undertake a comprehensive needs assessment—done in partnership with parents, educators, students and community members—so that local solutions are tailored to local problems,
  2. Implement research-based instructional and educational reforms,
  3. Address essential social, emotional and physical needs of students, and
  4. Recognize parent, student, and community leadership as key to sustainable student success.
THE 3 PILLARS OF SUSTAINABLE SCHOOL SUCCESS FOCUS ON:
  1. A strong focus on school culture, curriculum and staffing,
  2. Wrap-around supports for every child
  3. Real collaboration with the community, to ensure local ownership and accountability.
CAMPAIGN GOALS:
  • J4J is organizing to implement our Sustainable School Success model locally in our communities (impacting local and state policy) as well as at the federal level.  (Sustainable School Success replacing the current interventions for struggling schools; closing, charter expansion, turnarounds and transformations).
  • J4J will  document the harm these policies have inflicted on impacted communities through Grassroots Voices Listening Projects and build a groundswell of support for a moratorium on all school closings, turnarounds, charter expansions and phase-outs.
J4J is organizing with parents, students and teachers to identify lawmakers to stand with us; we want community driven, sustainable school improvement; not smoke and mirrors.
CHARTER/CONTRACT SCHOOL ACCOUNTABILITY
Journey for Justice believes in strong, high quality neighborhood schools.  Parents are not customers, and our children are not products.  
We believe that the original intent of charters, as “center for innovation” that share best practices with the public sector has been mutated to an “education for profit” industry.  Now the vast majority of charters and contract schools no better or worse than traditional public schools, despite being able to pick the children they want and expel the children they don’t.  This is not reform; these are mediocre interventions and we will not sit back while profiteers use public money, our money for private interest.
  • J4J will work to advance legislation and policy that hold charter and contract school operators accountable to the public.  We support legislation that makes charter and contract operators follow the local discipline codes that all public schools must adhere to.  In addition, we believe that the money should follow the student; so if a child is removed from one of these schools, the receiving school receives the resources, not the school that kicked the child out.
  • J4J is in a national community/labor coalition that is developing a campaign strategy to realize the above mentioned goals.
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