Your Education Road Map

Politics K-12®

ESSA. Congress. State chiefs. School spending. Elections. Education Week reporters keep watch on education policy and politics in the nation’s capital and in the states. Read more from this blog.

Equity & Diversity

SOS Event Draws Small Crowd, Focuses on Organizing

By Stephen Sawchuk — August 05, 2012 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

By guest blogger Liana Heitin

In sharp contrast to last summer’s celebrity-attended rally and march to the White House, the Save Our Schools gathering this year proved a quiet, 150-person affair.

Held this weekend in the regal Wardman Park Marriott in downtown Washington, the convention featured presentations on an array of topics including advocacy, social justice, and elevating student voice, and a keynote by author and activist Jonathan Kozol. Attendees also attended workshops during which they crafted official policy stances to eventually present to policymakers (though these sessions were closed to the media).

Mike Klonsky, Chicago-based educator and activist who is a first-year member of the SOS steering committee, said of the smaller scale of this year’s gathering: “We have a different purpose here. This isn’t a mass protest march. It’s an attempt to consolidate the organization. ... Going forward, to be a force for change, we have to organize ourselves.”

Stan Karp, a 30-year teacher and editor for Rethinking Schools, explained that the group is now “inwardly focused.” What the march did last year was “build a bridge between national academics and grassroots efforts,” he said, but the logistics of pulling off the event “stretched them [SOS organizers] to the gills.” This year “it’s more about grassroots efforts and talking to each other,” he said.

“The [presidential] campaign is probably a big distraction, too,” Karp added.

There were some notable absences this year. Education historian Diane Ravitch—a key player and, according to Klonsky, funder of the group—did not make the trip, but she allayed rumors that she’s no longer affiliated with SOS by explaining on her personal blog that she’s busy working on her next book. (Ravitch co-writes an opinion blog on Education Week as well.) Matt Damon, the actor who gave a rousing pro-teacher speech last year, did not attend either, though his mother Nancy Carlsson-Paige, a veteran teacher-educator, gave a keynote Friday on objecting to early-childhood testing.

This blog post was originally published on the Teaching Now blog on Education Week Teacher.

Related Tags:

Commenting has been disabled on effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attendance Awareness Month: The Research Behind Effective Interventions
More than a year has passed since American schools were abruptly closed to halt the spread of COVID-19. Many children have been out of regular school for most, or even all, of that time. Some
Content provided by AllHere
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Equity & Diversity Reported Essay What the Indian Caste System Taught Me About Racism in American Schools
Born and raised in India, reporter Eesha Pendharkar isn’t convinced that America’s anti-racist efforts are enough to make students of color feel like they belong.
7 min read
Conceptual Illustration
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
Equity & Diversity Reported Essay Our Student Homeless Numbers Are Staggering. Schools Can Be a Bridge to a Solution
The pandemic has only made the student homelessness situation more volatile. Schools don’t have to go it alone.
5 min read
Conceptual illustration
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
Equity & Diversity How Have the Debates Over Critical Race Theory Affected You? Share Your Story
We want to hear how new constraints on teaching about racism have affected your schools.
1 min read
Mary Hassdyk for Education Week
Equity & Diversity Opinion When Educational Equity Descends Into Educational Nihilism
Schools need to buckle down to engage and educate kids—not lower (or eliminate) expectations in the name of “equity.”
3 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty