An estimated 8,000 people made the trip to Capitol Hill on July 29-31 for the Save Our Schools March. The rally, which was reportedly supposed to draw about 1 million supporters, was held to elevate issues such as putting an end to high stakes testing, provide equitable funding for all public schools, increase family and community leadership in forming public education policies, and increase local control of curriculum.
According to the Save Our Schools Website, the SOS March is a grassroots movement devoted to restoring educator, parent, and community influence over education policy and practice. Supporters include education activists, parents, principals and teachers.
Small town Superintendent John Kuhn of Perrin-Whitt (Texas) School District, which has 360 students and is 90 miles Northwest of Dallas, raided his savings to make the trip to Washington, D.C. to stand up for teachers, as teachers have, in many cases, been the scapegoats of public school criticisms.
"The SOS March helped galvanize supporters for a new way forward. It advanced a dialogue that needed to be had and gained attention nationwide through the Internet," Kuhn says. However, The Center for Education Reform called it the "March of the Status Quo" saying that reform is about money, control and accountability for teachers.
According to Kuhn, "Right now, we don't have accountability; everyone responsible should be held accountable, but teachers are being singularly held responsible for societal failings. Teachers are scapegoats; if we are going to hold teachers accountable for failing test scores, then we need to hold politicians accountable. Where is adequate yearly progress for a politician? Will we have 100 percent employment by 2014?"
Kuhn, along with others, is fighting for universal quality education. "Right now, we have an exclusionary system— only educate kids who perform—and I'll fight against that until the day my career is over."