Worker’s rights? Check.
A greener planet? Check.
K-12 ed reform? … Not so much.
What was anticipated to be the biggest protest during RNC week in Tampa kind of fizzled in the drizzle today, drawing about 500 people instead of the expected 5,000. “Education affordability” was a top issue for many in the crowd, which included a fair smattering of college students, but it was a nod to higher ed. Dozens of speakers bypassed K-12 issues. And if there were any teachers and/or teachers union members in the crowd, they didn’t draw attention to themselves.
She was referring to rising college tuition, she said in a brief interview, and did not think educational rights extended to K-12 students who may benefit from vouchers, tax credit scholarships or charter schools. “The privatization of schools, I completely disagree with,” said Schmelzer, who graduated from the IB program at King High School in Tampa. “The problem with private schools is they separate children, so rather than having children of the 99 percent mixing with the children of the 1 percent, you have mostly 1 percenters in these schools or higher middle class.”
One of the day’s most fiery speeches was given by Omali Yeshitela, leader of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement, an activist group in St. Petersburg, Fla., better known as the Uhurus. More than a decade ago, the Uhurus tried to start a charter school in Pinellas County – where black students perform worse than black students in every other urban district in Florida – but were denied by the local school board.
Yeshitela told redefinED that while he and today’s protesters were on the same page on many concerns, he was probably an outlier when it comes to school choice. He said he disagreed with many progressives who think the issue is funding. Continue Reading →