3/19/2019 – New ‘Our Schools’ Media Project To Report On Privatization Movement

THIS WEEK: Kentucky Teachers Close Schools Again … Fund Our Future … DeVos Voucher Plan … Oregon Teachers May Strike … New Class Size Legislation


New ‘Our Schools’ Media Project To Report On Privatization Movement

By Jeff Bryant

It’s been some time since I’ve shown up in your inbox but doesn’t mean important education news hasn’t continued to break around the country. An exciting new media project I’ve started called Our Schools, in collaboration with the Independent Media Institute, takes you to the frontlines of these stories – from communities in New Jersey to California – to report on the nationwide effort to privatize and undermine the public education system. I’ve been exposing the false promises of charter schools, voucher programs, and corporate-style reforms and spotlighting how communities are fighting back and often succeeding against the school privatization agenda. My reporting appears on major national news outlets including Salon, AlterNet, and Naked Capitalism. But the best way for you to keep up with this reporting is to subscribe at the Our Schools website. And please help support the project with a generous donation.
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‘Tired Of Being Unsupported And Messed With’: Teachers Stage A Bold Protest That Scores National Attention

Our Schools

“Hundreds of other teachers in Jefferson County Public Schools, Kentucky’s largest school district that includes Louisville, called in sick, prompting the district to close schools for over 100,000 students … The Kentucky teachers’ actions are the latest in what has become a wave of teachers using their collective power to influence legislation in state governments, but the sick-out in Kentucky is also a sign of how teacher protests are evolving. Teachers who once saw labor actions as effective tactical responses to attacks on their financial well-being are now understanding that their labor power is part of a broader strategy to even the playing field in a political landscape that is increasingly unequal. And there’s strong evidence they’re having an impact.”
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Teachers’ Strikes Prompt Renewed Calls For More Education Funding

The Progressive

“Teachers have been actively protesting their working and living conditions. Many of the disputes have centered around stagnant teacher pay, large class sizes, and down-sized pension arrangements, while others focus on the spread of charter schools and other school ‘choice’ schemes that undermine public schools. These actions highlight an increased show of political power from teachers … The American Federation of Teachers, the second largest teachers union in America, hopes to seize on this increase in teacher-led actions. They just launched a nationwide campaign, ‘Fund Our Future,’ which they describe as a ‘major education initiative aimed at pressing lawmakers in state capitals and Congress to increase funding for public schools and universities.'”
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Betsy DeVos Promotes Plan To Hand Over Billions In Federal Tax Credits To Private, Religious And Home Schooling


“DeVos has been touring the country to promote her plan to hand over $5billion dollars in federal tax credits to dramatically expand the number of students attending private schools, religious schools, or even being homeschool. The program, part of a bill in Congress, would be funded through private donations in exchange for tax credits. In other words, tax dollars would effectively be paying for the program, as those dollars will have to be made up by taxpayers … The reception in Sec. DeVos’ stop in Iowa appeared less than enthusiastic. ‘Pitching her proposal to fund scholarships for private school and home-schooled students, federal education secretary Betsy DeVos met behind closed doors Friday with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and other state leaders and lobbyists’ … Sec. DeVos and Senator Ted Cruz, a big hom-schooling advocate, promote this bill … calling it a ‘civil rights issue.'”
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Oregon Teachers Plan For Walkout If Budget Deal Isn’t Reached


“After years of negotiations and disappointment with the Oregon State Legislature’s proposed budgets, Oregon educators are saying enough is enough. And if a deal can’t be reached soon, teachers say they plan to hold a walkout. Tad Shannon, who has been president of the Eugene Education Association for seven years, said they’ve kept steady pressure on lawmakers to get the resources teachers need to best serve students. In a letter sent out to teachers, Shannon wrote: ‘No one can do this for us. The time is now. We can’t wait any longer.’ The letter claims Oregon has one of the lowest graduation rates in the nation as well as the third highest class size.”
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Senate Bill Proposes Smaller Class Sizes For High-Poverty School Districts

Next City

“Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) has introduced a new bill to incentivize smaller class sizes in kindergarten and first, second and third grades. The legislation, which would allocate $2 billion for competitive grant funding, primarily to high-poverty school districts in the United States, is co-sponsored by Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris (CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Elizabeth Warren (MA), Cory Booker (NJ) and Michael Bennet (CO) … Influential research has suggested that setting the class size cap below 20 students will yield the greatest benefits, and Merkley’s bill caps class size at 18.”
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