October 7th is a National Day of Action to Defend Public Education.
(call to action)
Minnesota Call for October 7th Day of Actions in Defense of Public Education
Across the country, public education is facing a dire crisis. Budget cuts and privatization schemes together represent an unprecedented assault on public education. Here in Minnesota, the achievement gap between white K-12 students and minority students is among the worst in the nation. At the University of Minnesota, over-paid administrators are forcing the burden of budget cuts -- $47 million proposed by Governor Pawlenty this year -- onto the backs of students and workers. The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system leadership received bonuses when they laid off faculty and increased class sizes.
But resistance is possible! Historic protests, occupations, and strikes in defense of public education last fall throughout California sparked a movement, spreading nationwide on March 4th. Hundreds at the U of M participated in demonstrations, joining over a hundred thousand across 32 states. To expand and intensify our movement, October 7th has been called as the next nationwide Day of Actions in Defense of Public Education. Here in Minnesota, we hear the call loud and clear. Now we’re reaching out across our state, across all forms of public education, and within our local communities to build our forces and coordinate actions for October 7th. Join us in the struggle! We, the below signed organizations and individuals, call on students, teachers, faculty, staff, workers, parents, and community members to unite and defend the public ideal for education!
Our mission is to:
* Stop the budget cuts, tuition hikes, layoffs, program cuts, forced unpaid days off, and school closures. We didn’t create this crisis and we shouldn’t pay for it.
* Cancel all student debt immediately. Increase public grants, not loans, to cover all student needs.
* Institute free, accessible, and high quality education for all from pre-school through college. Tax the rich, banks, and corporations to guarantee full and equitable funding. Redirect money from the military into public education.
* Confront institutional racism and all forms of oppression. Abolish the criminalization of youth of color and the segregation and inequitable funding of schools. Fund ethnic studies and multi-cultural programs (pre-K - college) that engage students’ lived experiences.
* Take democratic control of our universities and schools. Students, educators, campus workers, and the wider community should participate in setting all budgetary and educational priorities, ensuring curriculum that is relevant to our community and student needs.
* Replace the focus on high-stakes testing with democratically determined criteria for success. End “Race to the Top” and other competitive grant programs.
* End the corporate influence, privatization, militarization, and re-segregation of public education. Stop the further expansion of charter and contract schools. Stop all public funding of private educational institutions.
* Defend and expand tenure, seniority, and other union rights. No to merit pay and linking teacher evaluations to test scores. Strong, democratic teachers’ unions and faculty associations are a cornerstone of quality public education.
The time to act is now. We need your support and participation to make this day a historic moment in Minnesota history. Organizing in Minnesota is being coordinated by the Education Action Coalition of MN. To get involved and/or to endorse this call, please email Oct7CoalitionMN@gmail.com and see october7mn.org for more information about actions at your school or local area. For plans of actions and endorsing organizations all over the United States, see defendeducation.org . Organizing for this day is also in collaboration with Ethnic Studies Week - ethnicstudiesweekoctober1-7.org.
Local Organizing for Oct 7th in MNTo get involved, attend a meeting for one of the following:
Education Action Coalition of MN (coordinating across MN):
next meeting: Thursday, September 16th, 6:30-8:30pm at Blegen Hall, room 115, on the U of M West Bank campus (see map here). Weekly meetings will be at this day/time/place until Oct. 7th!
K-12 Organizing with the Public Education Justice Alliance MN (PEJAM)
Visit pejam.org for information and updates on K-12 organizing for October 7th and beyond
Weekly meetings. For info, contact Mankato Area Activist Collective
Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC)
Weekly meetings. For info, contact Tjay Middlebrook