Sea to Shining Sea

Did you know that we organized Sunday’s Rolling Rally here in Pittsburgh to coincide with public education actions all over the United States? Starting tomorrow with an information picket line and student walkout in Philadelphia and running for six straight days there will be major actions in cities from coast to coast. Local organizers designed these events to show solidarity with the terrible situation in Chicago, where students are facing a tidal wave of 54 school closings. At all of these rallies you will likely see banners proclaiming:

Our City. Our Schools. Our Voice.
We Stand with Chicago!

Here’s how Pittsburgh fits into the national scene:

  1. San Francisco (May 20th at12 noon, City College of San Francisco (CCSF) Mission campus, 1125 Valencia Street). A rally and press conference will link the school closings in Chicago with the threatened closure of CCSF. Action will include street theater (“Chicago comes to San Francisco”), speakers (students, faculty, community organization rep), and a call to action.
  2. New York City (May 18th from 10am -4pm, PS 28 at 560 West 169th Street). Mirabal Sisters, a member of the NYC Coalition for Educational Justice, is holding a Parent Convention and plans to organize a Skype session with Chicago parents to link school closings in both cities.
  3. New York City (May 21st from 5:30 8:00pm, Brooklyn Borough Hall). Training for approximately 75 parent leaders on the national school reform landscape, with a particular focus on the corporate school reform agenda. The link will be drawn between the school closing struggle in Chicago and the NYC 2013 parent-led education justice organizing led by the NYC Coalition for Educational Justice and the Urban Youth Collaborative.
  4. Philadelphia (May 17th, Philadelphia School District Building). Hundreds of teachers will organize a citywide informational picket in support of full funding for public schools as students arrive in the morning. A citywide student walkout & press conference at City Hall is being organized in the afternoon to call on local politicians to fund Philadelphia public schools with the supports students need.
  5. Pittsburgh (May 19th, buses pick up at Weil, Obama, Burgwin; end at Schenley). Bus tour with parents, students, educators and community activists of schools that have been closed or converted to charter schools. At each school, the bus will pick up more people, and speakers will talk about the impact of the school closing on the local neighborhood.
  6. Houston (May 19th, Harris County AFL-CIO located at 2506 Sutherland Street). Community Voices for Public Education, the Texas Organizing Project, and the Houston Federation of Teachers are organizing a teach-in to explain the corporate agenda for public education, with an emphasis on school privatization, charter expansion, and testing.
  7. Kansas City (May 22nd at 6pm, Kansas City Public Library located at 4801 Main Street where Michelle Rhee will be speaking). Community members from MORE2 will be leafleting outside the event linking Michelle Rhee to the national corporate agenda for public education and what is happening in Kansas City and Chicago. Teachers will be inside the event sitting in silent protest.
  8. Boston (May 18th, English High School at 144 McBride Street). Educators for Social Justice Conference with parents, students and educators, with a focus on “creating the schools we deserve” and exposing the corporate agenda.
  9. Newark (May 22nd, Roseville Avenue School located at 70 Roseville Avenue). Activists will hold a large press conference calling on the Mayor and Governor to halt school closings, end the State takeover of Newark Public Schools, and express solidarity with the struggle in Chicago.
  10. Hillsborough County, Tampa, Florida (May 18th, 9:30am-12:00pm, University Area Community Development Center, 14013 N. 22nd ST, Tampa, FL). Public education advocates will hold a second Town Hall, with a partial focus on the national context.
  11. New Orleans (May 20th at 5pm, John Mcdonogh Senior High School, 2426 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans). A large press conference, followed by a town hall meeting, will highlight the national and local context of school closures and to end the state takeover of public schools.
  12. New Orleans (May 21st at 5pm, McDonogh 35 High School, 1331 Kerlerec Street, New Orleans). Another press conference will demand that the Orleans Parish School Board expands seats available in successful public schools so that parents and students have a real choice.
  13. New Britain, CT (May 22nd at 6pm, Central Park of New Britain). “Education is a Civil Right” is the message of this broad rally and march in support of funding for the public schools.
  14. Cleveland (May 20th, CASTLE Charter School located in downtown Cleveland). This action will draw the link between school closings and charter expansion, highlighting the lack of charter accountability.
  15. Cincinnati (May 20th, Cincinnati Public Schools headquarters). Testimony by union and community leaders at the School Board meeting will declare that Cincinnati must not adopt the school closing policy being proposed for Chicago, and that Cincinnati teachers and parents stand in solidarity with the Chicago Teachers Union and community.
  16. St. Paul (May 20th, Como Park at 1225 Eastbrook Drive). The St. Paul Federation of Teachers will express solidarity with teachers and parents in Chicago

Pretty exciting, eh? We here in Pittsburgh are not alone. We have grassroots colleagues from sea to shining sea working on the very same issues. And when we work together we are powerful.

Please plan to come to the Rolling Rally on Sunday to learn more about school closures – and take a tour of our Steel City. Yinzercation is co-sponsoring this Get on the Bus event with our partners: the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, PIIN, Action United, One Pittsburgh, AFSCME, SEIU Healthcare PA, and the Hill District Education Council. The school buses will make several pickups, so hop on at a stop near you:

  • Weil School – 3PM
  • Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (across from Obama School) – 3:30PM
  • Manchester School – 3:45PM
  • Burgwin School – 4:15PM

We will end the tour with a big action at the former Schenley High School in Oakland at 5PM. More information and RSVP on our Facebook event page. Come ride the bus in solidarity with Chicago, and come because we need to talk about school closure in Pittsburgh, too.

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