CPS Issues Conference ‘Taking Back our Schools: Promoting Excellence and Equity in Public Education’

Saturday, October 16 at Bunker Hill Community College.
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Our country’s democratic tradition of public education and our public school teachers are under attack by powerful forces with pockets deeper than the Grand Canyon. Our own pockets may not be so deep, but we who value our public schools are legion, and it’s not too late to fight back and win. Come with us on Saturday, Oct. 16 to our fall issues conference: “Taking Back our Schools: Promoting Excellence and Equity in Public Education.” We need your ideas and participation to achieve our goal of leaving this conference with plans for taking action!

Speakers, panels and workshops will address a broad range of issues, including CPS President Ruth Rodriguez Fay on “Countering the Attacks on Public Education,” FairTest’s Monty Neill on “Federal Standardized Tests. Dangers? Opportunities?” and a morning panel discussion of “Social Pressures on Public Schools.” Workshops will address MCAS reform, privatization and profiteering, budget cuts and addressing the achievement/opportunity to learn gaps. (For the full program, click here.)

School policies once defined by locally elected school committees are increasingly controlled by state policymakers, the federal government, and  corporate contractors and consultants. They have imposed radical changes on our schools from the top down, with little input from teachers or parents, in the name of “reform,” a “Race to the Top” and corporate models.  Dedicated and hard-working teachers, the backbone and heart of our public schools, are being undermined and made scapegoats for deep societal problems like poverty and segregation.

Our children’s education is increasingly reduced to the sum of standardized test scores. Private contractors, individual billionaires, and groups lacking experience in and commitment to public education are accelerating the privatization of schools and school services, profiting handsomely in some cases.

Most Americans say they have trust and confidence in their children’s public schools and teachers. It’s time for those who see strong public schools as a foundation for a vibrant democracy to join Citizens for Public Schools in defending our schools and teachers.

In this damaging transformation, much that parents and teachers understand and value about children’s healthy growth, learning and development is being disregarded. The panelists and participatory workshops at this conference will address these issues and develop alternative directions for improving our schools.

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