Last week, DC Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee announced the layoff of 388 DC school employees, -including 229 teachers- and she blamed the firings in cuts to the the fiscal 2010 budget made by the DC City Council. Rhee is strongly supported by DC Mayor Adrian Fenty. Protests followed.
Last Monday hundreds of high school students walked out of classes in protest and rallied from McKinley Technology High School to the DC government building. The protesters demanded more funding for public education and some accused Rhee of "racism, retribution and retaliation,". A rally is planned today and thousands are expected to attend:
The Washington Teacher's Union and the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees - Council 20 are organizing a mass rally to save public education:
The Washington Teachers' Union (WTU) says: "Saving public education means providing our students with the experienced teachers and support staff, classroom supplies and technology and safe school buildings. Saving public education also means welcoming teachers and parents as partners and a commitment in action and word to transparency and public accountability."
Mass Rally to Save Public Education
Thursday, October 8th
corner of 14th and Pennsylvania NW
The AFL-CIO, Metropolitan Washington Council reports:
Student Movement Against Teacher Layoffs Continues To Build
More students took to the streets of DC yesterday to protest teacher firings. Two hundred students from Spingarn High School marched to the DC District Building during the Council's legislative session to demand the reinstatement of teachers fired last Friday. Students joined Washington Teachers' Union President George Parker in testifying about overcrowded classrooms, overworked teachers, college applications that aren't followed up on because the school counselors have been fired and entire disciplines summarily scrapped. The students are expected to join labor, community and faith leaders at the WTU/AFSCME Council 20 mass rally to save public education this Thursday at 4:30p at Freedom Plaza.
The rally is supported by DC Council Chairman Vincent Gray, along with Councilmembers Harry Thomas Jr. (Ward 5), Kwame Brown (At Large), Yvette Alexander (Ward 7), Marion Barry (Ward 8), Mary Cheh (Ward 3) and Jim Graham (Ward 1). Councilmember Thomas has promised to introduce today a resolution supporting the student protest.
Mayor Fenty plans to run for reelection, but having people like Michelle Rhee as the DC School Chancellor will not help him at all. Mayor Fenty ought to stop attacking the rights of DC poorest population, especially when it comes to public education!