Wednesday, March 4, 2009


I sent this note to Susan Ohanian today. I don’t know if she’ll get it or not, so I’m broadcasting it out loud. To me, at this point, there’s no reason to be stealthy.


Dear Susan,

The time is ripe for all of us pro-public school people who are scattered across the country to organize together as ONE, and make ourselves much, much more visible on the national level.

The frustration has built up enough at this point and the moment has arrived for a powerful statement to be made to the nation. We're getting steamrolled to death by the billionaires and their ultimate plan.

Let's get a spokesperson (someone like you?) on 60 Minutes, The Daily Show, and Charlie Rose. Our views need much more public visibility.

Let's get Ravitch, Meier, Darling-Hammond, Rothstein, Klonsky, Jim Horn, some Bolder, Broader Approach folks, and whoever else is good, who would be willing to start showing up on TV talk shows, too. Let's make the nation listen!

Let's get a day of action going that will bring out devoted public school supporters in every major city. There are quite a lot. They could all be wearing the same t-shirts and buttons, carrying protest signs, and driving around in cars with pro-public, anti-school privatization-message bumper stickers. It needs to be a total campaign.

What about Horace Mann's upcoming 213th birthday, Monday, May 4th? (It's the day before the NEA's National Teacher Day). I'm not an education historian, so is there another more meaningful date?

If this idea was refined a bit more, then word would spread instantaneously via the internet, and local groups could start to make their plans. The mainstream media would be likely to pick the story up and put out some buzz about it, too. Enough is enough.

How about "A Pro-Public School Day of Action" or something like that? I'm not a professional organizer of national events, but I just know this could work. I can sense it is time.

You're a good person to bounce this idea off of because of your broad reach and appeal.

What do you think?

By the way, if you want to find out about me, here's my blog:



PS: Last weekend I mentioned this general sort of idea to Norm at EdNotes online, with the initial idea of basing the action in Chicago and doing it in October on John Dewey's 150th birthday. Chicago's been coping with a lot of school destruction. Also, it is such a symbolic city right now because of Duncan and Obama.

I'm just trying my best to turn up the heat and get something going.


The Perimeter Primate said...

I upgraded the service on my hit counter this morning. What a total surprise to find this!

Direct Hit
March 4, 2009 9:24 AM IP: (

It looks like they're checking up on what I have to say. I hope they're learning something!!!

Anonymous said...

Keep up the great work!!

caroline said...

Then why isn't Eli accepting your lunch invitation, or at least politely declining? Has he no manners?

I helped run a volunteer research and information project on Edison Schools back when it was being hailed as the magical miracle insta-solution, and the website got hits from Edison Schools users. You do have to wonder if we're being written off as total kooks -- you haven't heard much about the miracle of Edison Schools lately, so I think I lost my kook credentials, though.

ed notes online said...

We are agitating here in NYC but of course we also have to deal with the obstacle to real organizing - the UFT.

There are rallies going to occur at various closing schools, including one in Ocean-Hill Brownsville - I hope to video it. Yesterday at the rally we were giving out leaflets to promote out mar 28 conf to save public schools and teachers from a closing school in east ny came by.

We are trying to connect them to the school in Brownsville- really just about 2 miles away. It is amazing that ICE, NYCORE and Ed Notes has to do this while the UFT sits there.

I think we need to let this pressure build and take time to plan something.

In July I held an NYC ed activist party at my house and Leonie and NYC Educator actually met for the first time. PArent activist Lisa Donlon, Teachers Unite Sally Lee, Nycore and ICE people and people like Pissed off teacher and other bloggers were there. But we have to go beyond social interaction.

I met Susan O at the ACT Now conf in Birmingham Al in March 2003 where activists from around the nation gathered. A good model.

Let's do some building locally with a long view. Maybe the fall in Chicago is an idea. Some teachers are thinking of the next AFT or NEA conventions in July 2010 as a gathering point. But most of all, let's keep the conversation going.

ed notes online said...

Oh, and I got a subscriber who works for the Sharpton Education Equality Project so EEPs are monitoring the blogs.