Parents, educators, and students rally at more than 2,000 campuses for the public schools all our students deserve
WASHINGTON – October 06, 2016 – Today, community leaders, parents, students, and educators “walked in” to more than 2,000 schools serving over 1 million students in more than 200 cities as part of the largest coordinated education action in American history. Today’s events are the largest iteration of a series of actions as part of the nationwide walk-in movement organized by the Alliance to Reclaim our Schools (AROS), of which the National Education Association is a partner. Parents, educators, and students gathered in front of their schools before the beginning of the school day for rallies in support of the public schools all our children deserve. Following the rallies, participants symbolically walked in to school buildings to claim the campuses as an integral part of their communities.
NEA President Lily Eskelsen García spoke to over 100 hundred supporters attending a walk-in at West Lake Middle School in Wake County, NC. “We know what can happen when students have the opportunity to learn in environments that are safe, adequately funded, inspiring, and positioned to help them reach their full potential,” Eskelsen García said. “Across the country today, people who believe in the power of public education are proclaiming that we will not apologize for standing up for the needs of our students, our educators, communities, and public schools. All of us—students, educators, parents and the entire community are all in for public education.”
Today’s walk-ins in hundreds of cities delivered the message that public schools are the best places to inspire students’ natural curiosity, imagination, and desire to learn, and to provide the tools, time, and support that all students deserve. However, schools can only provide these resources when there is parent involvement in planning and decision-making, and with the funding and resources to deliver relevant and challenging curricula; emphasize high-quality learning rather than constant high-stakes testing; provide more one-on-one instruction; and offer critical support services such as health care.
“We are thrilled to have the support of the 3 million member educators of America’s largest labor union,” said AROS Director Keron Blair. “At a time when it is a radical act to merely declare that all students, regardless of ZIP code, deserve a strong public school in their neighborhood, we’re proud to have the professionals who know the names of those students walking in with us in our communities.”
AROS is a national alliance of parent, youth and community organizations, and labor groups, including NEA, fighting for educational justice and equity in access to school resources and opportunities. NEA affiliates in more than 70 cities participated in the walk-in action, including hundreds of schools in Los Angeles, Denver, Dallas, Newark, Seattle, Milwaukee, and San Diego.
Leaders from NEA, AROS, and local actions are available for further comment and interviews. For more information, contact Richard Allen Smith, NEA Communications, or visit reclaimourschools.org.
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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing nearly 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. Learn more at www.nea.org.