Posted by troublemaker on November 8, 2011
Occupy Christmas because our children are the future. Should that future be led only by the children of the elite 1%? By the children of parents who can afford to provide a proper K-12 education? Should not public schools be forced to provide the same quality in education as private schools? Why is it that grossly overpaid politicians determine the grossly low salary of most public school teachers? Should the 1% be allowed to dictate the educational quality for the 99%?
Monday, November 7th saw Occupy Wall Street participants aim their boots and march on the Department of Education. According to many involved in Occupy the Department of Education (Occupy DOE) that is exactly how education is managed in New York City. According to protesters on the steps of the Department of Education in New York City, the Mayor Bloomberg’s mayoral control of schools is tightly linked to the underline message behind Occupy Wall street. That message being that the elite 1% should not control the laws and lives of the 99%.
“What we’re seeing with mayoral control, it’s still part of the one percent versus ninety nine percent type of narrative,We have a mayor who is known for being in the top 20 wealthiest people in the country, who is singlehandedly dictating the reforms that come through the school systems without a lot of input. There’s no way to intervene once a decision has been made. Someone [ in the 1% ] has accrued too much power in decision-making in one office and is very disconnected from the needs in the [ 99% ]people in schools and communities but presumes to know what’s better for us based upon his status.”” – New York City English teacher Kelley Wolcott (1)
Kelley Wolcott and others involved with Occupy the Department of Education further illustrates the movement is not a bunch of dirty hippies who do not want to work for a living. If protesters were as some accuse, instead of protesting at the Department of Education the protesters would be listening to Pink Floyd songs about how we “don’t need no education”. Instead, the Huffington Post reports that approximately 200 protesters from Occupy Wall Street vented well intended concerns at New York City Department of Education (1).
Among other complaints aired were concerns about budget cuts for public schools. Although the tuitions of private schools are met by the 1%, improving their chances of acceptance to a good college, children of the 99% rely on the public school system for their future. Many feel that as funding for our public schools becomes decreased, so are educational and employment opportunities for our children.
“to take back the Department of Education, to take back the teachers union.” (2)
Across the country, teachers and educators have stood firmly with the Occupy movement. On the West Coast they participated in Oakland’s general strike. In Oakland Schools, on the day of the general strike, students were provided information on the strike and on the traditions of protest. Teachers stayed home to observe the general strike. (3)
An estimated 16% of teachers in the Oakland Unified School District did not show up to class – district spokesman Troy Flint (3)
Oakland school district allowed teachers to participate with the general strike provided they made arrangement to insure a substitute teacher was available or their classroom duties were otherwise covered.
“We wanted to allow teachers who were fighting for public education and children to have their voice.” – district spokesman Troy Flint (3)