After reading about Stephanie Rivera and her new national student organization (Students United for Public Education), Blake Ward got in touch with Stephanie, and he posted this comment on the blog:

“I am from Sumter, South Carolina and our newly-merged school district is facing the issues of a “Broadian” for a superintendant (as I term the graduates of Eli Broad’s Academy for Superintendants) and a school board whose decisions are almost always divided along racial lines. Because of the policies of our school district, our districts teacher morale is at an all time low. They have to wake up every morning and wonder whether or not their careers are going to be ruined by surprise audits from the districts new teacher evaulation system. To add to their frustration, they’re scared to speak out because they are afraid that they will be put on the superintendant’s “hit list.”

On September 11th, I started the Sumter School District Student Coalition and I currently serve as the co-chair with another classmate named Lance Foxworth. We are a group comprised of students. We are voice for the students by the students. We don’t want to see our teachers go to better paying and employee-friendly districts. The children of my school district are at risk of having their chance at a true quality education destroyed because of the concerted efforts by the “Billionaire Boys Club,” with weatlhy members such as Eli Broad and Bill Gates, to name a couple.

I have had the pleasure to talk with Stephanie and I am trying to find ways I can help her group and her initiatives as best as possible.

I beg anybody and everybody who reads this to look closer into what is happening in my school district. We have unhappy teachers, a multi-million dollar debt with a projected multi-million dollar deficit for this fiscal year, and, above all else, children who are not getting what they truly need to become productive life-long leaders.

Help us. 17,000 children depend on it.”

Blake, let’s all work together. I am convinced that we can turn the tide if we build strong organizations to speak out on behalf of students, parents, schools, communities, and our democracy. There are millions of us, and only a few hundred of them putting up the millions of dollars to capture state and local school boards.