I'm sitting here today wondering what Senator Kennedy would say about an education reform movement that lives off the public seeking to privatize our nation's public schools? My thinking is, if Senator Robert F. Kennedy were alive last month, he would have joined the marchers at the Save Our Schools March for Public Education and Social Justice; just like he supported Cesar Chavez and the migrant farm workers in their struggle against the growers in California. Justice requires Action. He would have marched with us, because we were marching for Public Education and Social Justice. What matters about marching for Public Education and Social Justice, is that we still need to march; and are you still marching? This struggle is so much more than one simple march.
I applaud Diane Ravitch for refusing to stay with the pack.
I applaud her for stopping for just a moment, standing up, realizing she was wrong, and then using her voice in support us.
I salute Diane Ravitch for marching in 2011 and again in 2016.
I salute her for being the only education historian committed to telling the truth, even if it means admitting she was wrong initially.
I salute her for standing against the powerful elite, and choosing instead what's right for children, parents, and teachers.
WHEN you started marching matters less than "Are you marching today?"
In Diane Ravitch's new edition of The Death and Life of the Great American School System (2016) she writes:
"The original version of this book I criticized testing and choice, but continued my long-standing advocacy for national standards and a common national curriculum. I thought that if every child experienced the same engaging curriculum, then every one of them would have a great education. Wrong again. I have come to realize that "high standards" and "rigorous testing" do not promote equity; instead, they produce high rates of failure for many students and widen the gap between those at the bottom and those at the top. Inevitably, those who fail to jump over an unrealistically high bar will be the children who need extra help and resources; they will be disproportionately impoverished children of color, children with handicaps, and English-language learners ... Standards on their own do not address the root causes of poor academic performance, which are generational poverty, racial segregation, and inequitable resources" (prologue xxiii-xxiv).
To the rumblers ~ Justice Requires Action. Action requires marchers. It doesn't matter when you started marching for justice in our public schools. What matters is, are you ready to march now?
In 2016 Save Our Schools March gathered a coalition for public education and social justice for another march on DC. Dr. Ravitch had released her 2nd edition book; we invited her to speak with us again. She did.
Who marched in DC for Equity and Justice in Public Education and Social Justice on July 8, 2016?
Jonathan Kozol: Marched,
Rev Dr. William Barber: Marched,
Bronx Principal Jamaal Bowman: Marched,
Dr. Denisha Jones: Marched,
Ruth Rodriquez: Marched,
Bishop Selders: Marched,
Youth Dreamers: one the bus,
Newark Students Union: Marched,
Jesse Hagopian: Marched,
Gus Morales: Marched
Brett Bigham: Marched
United Opt Out: Marched
Barbara Madeloni: Marched
Sam Anderson: Marched
Mike Klonsky: Marched
Michelle Gunderson: Marched
Detroit Federation of Teachers: Marched
Tell me you fight by writing letters to editors,
Tell me you fight by blogging,
Tell me you testify at local and state board of education meetings,
Tell me you fight by lobbying legislators,
Tell me you fight on social media,
We need all of these fights.
But in 2016, and beyond
You don't need to go to DC to march.
Marchers are needed in America's local communities,
In America's cities.
In our state capitals.
We need marchers outside the offices of America's Mayors, Governors, and Legislators.
We need marchers singing.
"People Get Ready,
There's a train a coming
You don't need no ticket,
All you need is to get on board"
Get on this marching train.
Jesse The Walking Man Turner