Saturday, 29 August 2015

Support US school hunger strike fighting for high quality public education for African American children

(Photo: Sarah Jane Rhee)

In the 1980s I spent some time in the US visiting schools as part of my study towards an MA in Urban Education. I made contact with the organisation Rethinking Schools which is an alliance of teachers, parents and other educators pursuing social justice in education.  They combine trade union work with campaigns on the curriculum and testing.

The advance of neoliberalism in education and the undermining of public education by charter schools has put them on the frontline.

Today I received this call for support:

Rethinking Schools expresses solidarity with the 12 parents, grandparents, educators, and their supporters who are in the second week of a hunger strike for the Dyett High School of Global Leadership and Green Technology, an open enrolment public high school in Chicago’s historic African American Bronzeville neighborhood.

Our friends and colleagues with Chicago’s Teachers for Social Justice summarise the background of this struggle:
“In 2012 CPS voted to phase out Dyett after years of disinvestment and sabotage. It closed this last spring despite years of protest, organising, arrests, and pleas to the mayor-appointed Board of Education. Dyett was the LAST open enrolment public high school in Bronzeville, where gentrification is intense and charters proliferate. The plan for a revitalised Dyett (an academically rigorous, culturally relevant, community-grounded, critical, inquiry-based, social justice school focused on preparing young people to be community and global leaders and stewards of the earth) was developed through an intensive four-year process in collaboration with a coalition of community partners

“The fight for Dyett is the focal point of the racial justice, anti-neoliberal struggle to defend and transform public education in Chicago. It pits African American parents, students, teachers, and community residents and their Chicago Teachers Union and city-wide allies against Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his political and corporate allies. This is a critical battle. Twelve people are risking their health to fight for the right of African American children to have a high quality public education in 2015.”
Visit the Teachers for Social Justice website for updates and images.

Express your solidarity and help give this struggle as much visibility as possible. Teachers for Social Justice recommends:

Please use your web pages, organizational ties, media connections, and creativity to:
  • Post solidarity messages to the hunger strikers on Facebook: Dyett High School of Global Leadership and Green Technology
  • Tweet about the hunger strike using #fightfordyett #wearedyett
  • Advocate for media coverage, op-eds, send to bloggers for posting, etc.
  • Use your webpages and education contacts, coalitions to organize solidarity actions/messages, etc.
  • Call/fax/send letters to:
    Alderman Will Burns
    435 East 35th Street
    Chicago, IL 60616
    Office: (773) 536-8103
    Fax: (773) 536-7296

1 comment:

Trevor said...

My heart goes out to these people
but I don't agree with "hunger strikes" that's not the way to go.