by David Sheridan; image courtesy of AROS
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From Portland, Ore., to Providence, R.I., in more than 2,000 communities, thousands of educators, parents, students and community allies rallied for their neighborhood public schools, while saying “no” to Betsy DeVos, the billionaire nominee for secretary of education, and her corporate takeover agenda for public schools.
Under the banner of “We Demand Schools All Our Children Deserve,” 71 National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers local unions participated in the National Day of Action organized last week by the Alliance for Reclaiming Our Schools (AROS). Local educators called for full funding and support for neighborhood-based community schools, instead of privatization, as well as smaller class sizes, more teaching and less testing, and positive discipline policies.
In addition, educators addressed Donald Trump’s campaign threat to deport all undocumented immigrants. “As educators, we have to do everything within our power to ensure that all students feel safe in our schools,” said Oakland Education Association President Trish Gorham.
In Los Angeles’ Arleta High School, student body president Pedro Reyes, an undocumented teenager from Mexico, struck a message of hope despite the fear he may one day be deported. “This new president is not going to stop me from succeeding and going to college.”
In fact, hope and determination marked this Day of Action across the country as public education supporters vowed to continue to stand up and speak out for our students, regardless of what the new Administration throws at us in the coming days and months ahead. As one hand-made rally sign proclaimed: “This is my first demonstration, but not my last.”