On July 30, 2010, SOS Million Teacher March hosts first National Support Public Education Day

SOS Million Teacher March to conduct nationwide activities in support of the first National Support Public Education Day.
By: Laurie Murphy,Co-coordinator
 
July 23, 2010 - PRLog -- On July 30, 2010, members of the SOS Million Teacher March organization will hold the first National Support Public Education Day.

In keeping with the theme, “Supporting Public Education Strengthens America,” members throughout the nation will hold a variety of special events in order to call attention to the emergency facing public education.

“Our education system is mired in a national crisis,” states Chris Janotta, an Illinois teacher and founder of the SOS Million Teacher March.  “The only solutions offered thus far by those making the decisions have penalized teachers, students, and society. Firing teachers, cutting school budgets, creating larger class sizes for students, putting other punitive measures into effect is not the answer,” insists Janotta. “Instead,” Janotta states, “success must be based on both making education the number one priority and creating a culture of respect for education and teachers and by realizing that as society has evolved, so must the education system.”

“The vast majority of people actually support our efforts to make quality public education our country’s highest priority,” says Janotta.  “Unfortunately, many politicians seem to forgotten its importance.” To focus attention on this issue, the SOS Million Teacher March is conducting the Shoelaces for Teachers campaign. Through this campaign, people from across America are showing their support by sending in shoelaces to honor teachers who have made a difference in someone’s life.  The first batch of collected shoelaces will be revealed on July 30th as part of the documentary, We Just Keep Going, which will have its national broadcast premier at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard time on Ustream.Tv.

In addition to the shoelace campaign and documentary, members will be participating in marches, rallies, and press conferences held in communities throughout the country.

Nadine Fisher-Kirby, a parent from Palm Beach, Florida, has organized one of the many rallies being held throughout the country. Although sponsored by the SOS Million Teacher March, the rally is also being supported by numerous Florida based educational-advocacy groups, including Florida Teachers and Parents for a Better Education, Moms and Dads Against Senate Bill 6, Testing is Not Teaching, and Stop Senate Bill 6.  These groups received national attention due to the critical role that they played in the historic veto of Florida’s Senate Bill 6 by Governor Crist.
 
“We believe that our teachers deserve respect for going above and beyond,” says Fisher-Kirby. “We also believe that all children, disabled, physically-abled, with and without disabilities, deserve a well-rounded education, one which includes English, science, geography, history, art, music and physical education… in addition to math and reading.”
           
“We have become a society that is obsessed by test scores.” Fisher-Kirby states.  “FCAT drilling is not the way for our kids to get an education, and it’s not the way for our teachers to teach.”  The rally, being held at the Fulton-Holland Educational Services Center, hopes to draw attention to these issues and foster a constructive discussion on positive solutions.

Members in Milwaukee, Wisconsin will be holding rallies and celebrating the day by creating “classrooms” outside of public buildings.  In each of these outdoor classrooms, fifty students will sit in "desks" to show the overcrowding which is expected due to teacher layoffs and budget cuts.

Deborah Hohn Tonguis, the 2009 Teacher of the Year for Louisiana, is taking a different approach. Tonguis will be holding a bell ringing campaign at the Baton Rouge capitol. Tonguis explains, “Paul Revere was a bell ringer, literally and figuratively in our history, giving notice that the revolution was finally upon us.”

It is Tonguis’ hope that individuals and groups, large and small, will gather, bells in hand, at a variety of public places such as capital steps, city halls, and schools.  “Let us all ring the bell to let everyone know that future-focused, child centered change is finally coming to education in America… we will be free from the tyranny of ‘policy implementation without teacher representation’ and that schools will now evolve into places that are relevant for the 21st century!”
   
At each of these events, members will be dressed in the official colors of the SOS Million Teacher March: black, white, and red.  According to Janotta, the black and white represent in part the contrast between the two directions that this nation may take.  “If appropriate funding for our schools is not provided, if reforms are based on political sound bites rather than on solid research, and if teachers are left out the decision making process and their careers held hostage by factors over which they have little control, our public educational system will surely fail.  On the other hand, through the use of American ingenuity--which our nation was built upon--we will create a nation of future leaders that will bring this country to levels of prosperity never seen before. The red represents our need to stop now and, immediately and honestly, examine the consequences of our actions.  To continue forward in the current direction is to do further damage to America.”

Janotta’s mission is to create an atmosphere of unity centered around America’s greatest natural resource: its educated youth.  “Much as our founding fathers did when the time was right, we must come together as Americans--not Democrats or Republicans, unionized workers or non-unionized workers, those in office or those seeking office--but as Americans to do what is right for America."  

Janotta adds, "if our founding fathers had merely accepted things as they were and tried living under the tyranny of the king while expecting society merely to adjust, the great American experiment of democracy would never have come to fruition. Had those who started the civil rights movement simply shrugged their shoulders and said, ‘The government says this is the right way to do things, so what can we do?’ President Obama would not currently be sitting at the helm in the position to lead our country back to prosperity. America can no longer accept what is happening with its education system.  When something is inherently wrong, it must be corrected by allowing all parties to come together to do what is right.”

While activities for this year's National Support Public Education Day are locally focused, the SOS Million Teacher March is developing plans for a national event to be held in Washington DC on July 30th, 2011.

For more information concerning the above listed events or the SOS Million Teacher March organization, please contact:

www.sosmtm.com

Chris Janotta  
Coordinator, SOS Million Teacher March        
(708) 949-6060                                                          
sosmtm2010@gmail.com
                                         
Laurie Murphy
Co-Coordinator, SOS Million Teacher March
(863) 386-4806
murphylauriet@gmail.com

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The SOS Million Teacher March is an organization dedicated to resolving the crisis facing the America's public education system. It is ongoing and ever-evolving; events include virtual and actual marches, rallies, and advocacy and education activities.
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