This post is updated based on your excellent suggestions.

I always enjoyed July 4 as a day to celebrate our nation and to honor its heroes.

With an ignorant bully in the White House, it is hard to feel good about what is happening today. Trump seems eager to demolish the First Amendment and that’s bad for our nation and our future. He wants to remove environmental protection and allow the pillaging of our air, water, and lands. He wants to defund every social program that protects those who are in need while giving the military more money than it asked for.

But enough complaining! It is what it is!

Today I want to celebrate the everyday heroes across the nation who are fighting to protect public education against privatization.

I won’t remember all of them and I don’t know all of them, so I invite you to add the names of people you know in your district or state who are fighting to keep public schools public.

Today I honor the following:

The BadAss Teachers Association, which has given courageous teachers a voice to fight against phony “reforms”;

Jitu Brown of Journey for Justice.

Speaker of the Texas House Joe Strauss, who has deftly fended off private school vouchers again and again;

The Honorable Dan Huberty, chair of the Public Education Committee in the Texas House of Representatives, who has knocked down vouchers again and again;

Pastors for Texas Children, which has not only fought vouchers in Texas, but has helped to organize pastors in other states to defend separation of church and state and religious liberty;

The Education Law Center, and especially Wendy Lecker, who work to protect public schools from predators;

Save Our Schools New Jersey, which has fought back to protect public schools from the Chris Christie regime;

Valerie Strauss, who writes The Answer Sheet blog at the Washington Post, and is the clearest thinking education writer in the nation;

The parent groups in Florida who continue to fight for public schools despite the Republican legislators who live under the thumb of former Governor Jeb Bush;

The Washington State Supreme Court that declared that charter schools are not eligible for public funding because they are not public schools, not having an elected board;

Mercedes Schneider, who is a powerful and indefatigable researcher, author, and teacher;

Kenneth Bernstein, who blogs for The Daily Kos as Teacher Ken;

NYSAPE (New York State Allies for Public Education), which combined 50 parent and teacher organizations across the state to fight for public schools, for equitable funding, for the right to opt out of abusive state testing, against the Common Core, and against high-stakes testing;

Larry Lee of Alabama, who fights for public education every day;

John Kuhn, superintendent in Texas, whose eloquence inspires us all;

The members of the board of the Network for Public Education, who serve without compensation and tirelessly give of their time to support public education and make it better for all children;

Carol Burris, who not only leads the Network for Public Education, but finds time to write brilliant exposes of charter corruption;

The Chicago Teachers Union, which has relentlessly fought Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s attacks on public schools;

The Massachusetts Teachers Association, which led the successful fight to defeat a referendum to increase charter schools in the stater;

Citizens for Public Schoools in Massachusetts, which fought the expansion of charters and won;

The NAACP, which bravely issued a clarion call for a moratorium on new charters, until existing ones are held to the same standards of inclusiveness, accountability, and transparency as public schools;

Black Lives Matter, which issued a statement condemning school privatization and calling for democratic control and equitable funding of public schools;

Julian Vasquez Heilig, who as blogger and NAACP activist, has fought those who cynically cloak their goal of privatization with the rhetoric of civil rights;

Defending the Early Years, which supports the right of children to a childhood;

Activists Nancy Carlsson-Paige and Susan Ohanian, who advocate for early childhood education free of standardized testing;

Helen Gym of Philadelphia, who ran for City Council and won, so she could fight for kids and public schools;

Jeannie Kaplan of Denver, who has waged a lonely battle against corporate reform and is not giving up;

Donald Cohen of In the Public Interest, which exposes efforts to privatize public institutions;

Arthur Camins, who understands the importance of public schools in a democracy; Mark Naison, who fights for equity through his writings and activism; and Deborah Meier, a lifelong champion of children, progressive education, and democracy;

Carl Peterson, Robert Skeels, Karen Wolfe, Ellen Lubic, Scott Schmerson, and all the other parents and educators in Los Angeles who keep hope alive for the survival of public schools in that billionaire-ridden city;

Angie Sullivan of Clark County, Nevada, who teaches in a Title I school and sends blast emails to legislators and journalists to fight for her students;

Sara Stevenson, middle school librarian in Austin, who writes a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal every time it attacks public schools and has become a friend of the editor of the letters section;

Tim Slekar, dean of Edgewood College in Wisconsin, who tirelessly fights for the teaching profession.

Bloggers Peter Greene, Jersey Jazzman, Gary Rubinstein, Mike Klonsky, Paul Thomas, Jennifer Berkshire, Steven Singer, Mercedes Schneider, Nancy Bailey, Arthur Goldstein, Susan Schwartz, Tom Ultican, Jonathan Pelto, Anita Senkowski, and many others who have fearlessly punched holes in the “reform” narrative;

Jeff Bryant and Jan Resseger, who fight for public education every day;

Laura Chapman, who conducts her own powerful research about the privatizers;

Bill Phillis, who founded the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy;

Public Schools First in North Carolina, who never give up hope;

Rev. William Barber, who launched the Moral Mondays movement in North Carolina;

Save Our Schools Kentucky, fighting against charters and vouchers;

Scholar Bruce Baker of Rutgers, who has studied the actual performance of charter schools and found it wanting;

Scholars Gene V. Glass, David Berliner, and Chris Lubienski, who have demonstrated time and again that public schools are far superior than nonpublic schools;

Scholars Gary Orfield and Myron Orfield, who have documented the continuing resegregation of the schools and called for needed changes;

FAIRTEST, which has stood strong against the misuse of and overuse of standardized testing since the 1970s;

Scholars Pasi Sahlberg, Andrew Hargreaves, and Yong Zhao, who have pointed the way to better schools through their scholarship;

State Commissioner of Education Rebecca Holcomb in Vermont, who has been an inspiring leader in articulating a vision of better education;

The National Education Policy Center, which regularly reviews research and think tank reports, for accuracy and soundness;

Class Size Matters, an organization founded by Leonie Haimson, that advocates for reduced class sizes and student privacy (I am a member of its small board);

The independent film makers who have created videos to celebrate our public schools and to expose those who attack them–including Michael Elliott, whose work supports the Opt Out movement; Mark Hall, who created “Killing Ed”; Brian and Cindy Malone, who made “Education Inc.”; Nebraska Loves Public schools, which makes films celebrating the work of good public schools in the state.

The Tennessee Mama Bears, who have fought to preserve their public schools, against a rapacious charter school industry;

New York superintendents Michael Hynes of Patchogue-Medford and David Gamberg of Southold-Greenport, who have turned their vision of child-centered education into reality;

The Opt Out Movement in New York, which year after year has persuaded 20% of the state’s eligible children not to take the state tests and has had a statewide and national influence;

The Parent Coalition for Student Privacy, led by Rachel Stickland and Leonie Haimson;

The Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education, which fights for public schools in a state whose politicians were bought by reformers.

Now, I am certain I have only begun to scratch the surface of the nation’s heroes of public education.

I celebrate them today for their courage, their dedication, their devotion to democracy and to children.

If you have names of individuals or groups to add, please send them in.

Who are your heroes in education? Who has inspired you?