I have published two pieces by the Teaching Georgia Writing Collective, which is a group of educators, parents and citizens who engage in public writing and public teaching about education in Georgia. The group had its impetus in Athens and includes UGA professors.
The collective defines its goals as: 1) empowering educators to reclaim their workplace and professionalism, 2) empowering families to stand up for their children and shape the institutions their children attend each day, 3) empowering children and youth to have control over their education, and 4) enhancing the education of all Georgians.
Here is a third essay from the group:
Dear Chicago Teachers,
The Chicago Teachers Union strike will go down as a significant event in history when educators stood up against the destructive powers of privatization and for workers’ job security and a strong middle-class in the United States. We want to thank you for standing up for yourselves, for your students, for public education, and for every teacher who is faced with constant criticism and attacks on their professional dignity. Your courage to stand up, walk out, and demand national attention inspires us and makes us hopeful that your actions will have a positive impact for the working conditions of all teachers, regardless of whether they have union protection or not.
Thank you for challenging the narrow-minded vision of using high-stakes standardized test scores to evaluate student learning, teacher effectiveness, and school rankings.
Thank you for showing America and the world that most teachers do not agree with the heavy-handed policies that have narrowed curriculum and made school a less interesting and enjoyable place for most kids.
Thank you for fighting for the rights of children, youth and families to have access to fully funded public schools that aren’t destroyed by for-profit charters not held to the same level of scrutiny.
Thank you for demanding rights for laid-off teachers.
Thank you for demonstrating to everyone in our country that working conditions for teachers have been deteriorating since before NCLB and won’t be improved by Race to the Top.
Thank you for reminding workers everywhere that they have a right to stand up for injustices in their workplace.
Thank you for teaching your students – and all of us – an important lesson about democracy, labor, and the vision of public education that is handed to us by “reformers” who rarely know anything about real schools and real kids and real teaching. We should all strive to be as courageous as you.
Teaching Georgia Writing Collective
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog