The #WeChoose campaign is a declaration from hundreds of thousands of parents, students and educators in cities across the United States with a clear, yet profound message - we refute and resist corporate education policies that are inflicted upon our children without our voice.
The failure of previous administrations to respect the voices of all Americans has set the tone for this perilous moment that we are in now. We reject appointed school boards. We reject zero tolerance policies that criminalize our children. We reject mediocre corporate education interventions that are only accepted because of the race of the children served. We Choose equity. We Choose sanctuary cities for Muslims and all immigrants. We will organize local coalitions and alliances to build the power to realize this vision.
We need you to sign the petition. We need you to go to http://www.j4jalliance.com and connect to the struggle for education equity with grassroots organizations in our network. We need you to participate in our “Accountability Week” in January then again in March of 2018, as we make local elected officials terrified to sell us out. We have a grassroots driven vision for public education and here it is:
1) A Moratorium on School Privatization
2) The Creation of 10,000 Sustainable Community Schools
3) End Zero Tolerance Policies in Public Schools NOW
4) National Equity Assessment
5) Stop the Attack on Black Teachers.
6) End State Takeovers, Appointed School Boards and Mayoral Control
7) Eliminate the Over-Reliance on Standardized Tests in Public Schools
Why is this important?
School privatization is a hustle and our children are not for sale. The We Choose Campaign has given a voice to the real experts and people that are directly impacted by school privatization tactics. Our Why is because of stories like this:
My name is Irene Robinson, grandmother of 18 children who are in Chicago Public Schools. In segregated Chicago, we are fighting for our right to live here; where under mayors Daley and Rahm Emanuel, over 200,000 Black people have been forced out of this city over the last decade. I live in the Bronzeville community on the south side and entered the fight for education justice when CPS closed my grandbaby's elementary school, Anthony Overton. Despite the fact we had over 400 children in our school and for two straight years had some of the greatest test score increases in the city; they closed our school. They dumped our babies in two schools with no consideration. My grandson was in a kindergarten class with over 52 other students and I know this is because he is Black. The children blamed themselves, as if they failed because their school closed. The truth is, they were failed by Chicago Public Schools. CPS is guilty of the sabotage of Black and Brown children's education and nothing showed this more than when they closed Walter Dyett High School; our last open enrollment neighborhood high school. We held town hall meetings, got over 4000 petition signatures in support of our plan and it did not matter; closing this school was a part of pushing us out. But we stood up. After 3 years of getting the run-around from the city, we waged a hunger strike to save Dyett. Today Dyett is open as a neighborhood school with $16 million dollars in new investments; but we had to starve ourselves for 34 days to win. I was hospitalized twice and many of us suffered health issues as a result; but I would do it again in a heartbeat. School privatization in not about helping our children, but destroying our communities; we need equity, not the scam called school choice.
From July through October, the #WeChoose campaign has held “Critical Conversations” (CC) in over 30 cities across the United States. Here a snapshot of participating cities: Chicago, Detroit, Seattle, New York, New Jersey-Paterson, Camden, Newark, Maplewood, Trenton, Elizabeth, Kansas City, Dayton, Prince George's County, Oakland, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Pittsburg, Arizona, Denver, Jackson and Milwaukee,. These conversations have been effective in uniting around a comprehensive education platform rooted in local campaigns and building multi-racial grassroots coalitions that can speak “power to power” to decision makers. The framing of #WeChoose has resonated with the public, as coalition members recognize that real school choice does not exist in our communities. #WeChoose to put an end to the manufactured misery that is plaguing our black and brown communities.