It is beginning. Teachers, superintendents, local school boards, parent groups, and now students: all are saying the same things. Stop destroying education with high-stakes testing. Stop the chaos and disruption of school closings. Support and encourage, don’t humiliate and destroy.

Are you listening, Secretary Duncan?

Here is a new student group in New Orleans demanding quality education and equity.

Dear Friends,

United Students of New Orleans (USNO) is a coalition of students organizing
and advocating for fairness and justice in public schools across New Orleans. Starting with students from four schools: Walter L. Cohen, L. B. Landry, G.W.Carver, and Sarah T. Reed, it has grown to include students from seven schools across New Orleans, including both public and charter. Schools came together, and they united under the understanding that they were being denied their civil rights and an access to a real education.

Our purpose, as USNO, is to elevate the voices of public school students and push for equity, justice and resources in public education. We demand quality teachers, adequate study materials, and a safe environment free of discrimination and mental stress. We work to ensure that high school students, like us, get the resources needed to succeed in school, so that they can compete in the global market or enroll in higher learning institutions. Since our organization gathers and supports the student leaders of each school as separate entities and as a collective whole, we have learned what it means to give every student a fair and equal education with adequate resources. We also train other students to use their voices to inform the community about the issues in public schools that directly impact our daily lives.

Next week, USNO will travel to Washington DC to testify at the US Department of Education Hearing: The Impact of School Closings, Turnarounds, Phase-outs and Co-locations. To help these students attend the JOURNEY FOR JUSTICE or to help them with their campaign or to just help them to make it easier to get through and navigate the current school system, we need a little more help from our friends and supporters. $10, $25, $50, $100, or whatever you currently can give will be truly appreciated. We can go to FFLIC’s website to the WEPAY, but make a note in contact organizer that this donation is for USNO or you can make to wepay or check payable to FFLIC for United Students of New Orleans at 1600 O.C.Haley blvd, New Orleans, La 70113 or cash. If you can’t donate money, can you support us with our fight for an adequate education? All you have to do is have a video, phone, or Youtube statement in which you give support such as “My name is (your name) and I’m an (occupation) and I support United Students of New Orleans.” Such support will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
Terrell Major Student Co-Founder of USNO Meagan McKinnon Student Co- Founder

National Movement Forms In Wake Of Mass School Closings & Turnarounds That
Violate Civil Rights & Promote Divestment In Low Income, Students Of Color

WHAT: Students, parents and advocacy representatives from 18 major United States cities will testify at a hearing before the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C. on the devastating impact and civil rights violations resulting from the unchecked closing and turnaround of schools serving predominantly low-income, minority students across the country.

More than 10 cities have filed, or are in the process of filing, Title VI Civil Rights complaints with the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, citing the closing of schools and the criteria and methods for administering those actions as discriminatory toward low-income, minority communities. Representatives from 11cities will testify at the hearing on the impact of school closings including the civil rights violations and the destabilization of their children and their communities resulting from the criteria used for school closings and the current accepted movement to privatize schools.

Demands of the Department of Education include a moratorium on school closings until a new process can be implemented nationally, the implementation of a sustainable, community-driven school improvement process as national policy, and a meeting with President Obama so that he may hear directly from his constituents about the devastating impact and civil rights violations the current policy is perpetuating.

The hearing will be followed by a procession and candlelight vigil at the Martin Luther King Memorial to continue to raise the voices of those impacted by the destabilization and sabotage of education in working and low-income, communities of color.

In the wake of the hearing, the 18 participating cities, along with additional cities in the process of organizing, are forming a national movement to unite students and advocacy organizations across the country to spread awareness of mass school closings and their impact on targeted communities.

WHO: Approximately 500 students, parents and community representatives impacted or at risk of impact by school closings representing 18 cities across the country will attend the hearing including: Atlanta; Baltimore; Boston; Chicago; Cleveland; Detroit; District of Columbia; Eupora, Miss.; Hartford, Conn.; Kansas City, Mo.; Los Angeles; Newark; New Orleans; New York; Oakland, Calif.; Philadelphia; Wichita, Kan.; Wilmington, Del.

WHEN/WHERE: Tuesday, January 29th, 2013 Tuesday, January 29th, 2013
2:00 p.m.– 3:55 p.m. 5:00 p.m. EST
U.S. Department of Education [Room XXX] Martin Luther King Memorial
Washington, DC Washington, DC

WHY: Cities across the country are experiencing the results of neglectful actions by the closing of schools serving predominantly low-income students of color including displacement and destabilization of children, increased violence and threats of physical harm as a result of re-assignment, and destabilization at schools receiving the displaced students.

Despite current research showing that closing these public schools does not improve test scores or graduation rates, closings have continued primarily because current federal Race To The Top policy has incentivized the closing and turnaround of schools by supporting privatization. However, the privatization of schools has resulted in unchecked actions and processes where the primary fallout is on those in low-income, minority communities. The devastating impact of these actions has only been tolerated because of the race and class of the communities affected.