I’m hearing rumors of 40,000 people for tomorrow’s EEP rally in Washington…

Update:  Those rumors turned out to overstate things a little.  I’m not an expert crowd counter (although I’m pretty good at guessing the attendance at American League games) but I’d say about 3K people +/-.  The rain didn’t help and there seemed to be some logistical issues, buses showed up right near the end and the crowd started growing…

Random thoughts:  Couple of great musical acts.  Former National Teacher of the Year Jason Kamras and former D.C. City Councilman Kevin Chavous were fiery and closed things out with a bang.   Chavous gave an impassioned “by any means necessary” kind of speech.   Also, you wouldn’t think Joel Klein would be such a galvanizing speaker but he has an activist in him bursting to get get out, the crowd responded to him, too.   And they liked Arne Duncan a lot.   UNCF’s Michael Lomax also really strong.  Tom Vander Ark has some pictures on his Facebook page.

The number of pro-D.C. voucher program signs in the crowd was noteworthy as was the support for the program when speakers mentioned it.   Something to keep an eye on as the debate about the compromise goes forward.  If someone actually organizes those parents…

Update II:  One reader writes:  “Saw it on C-Span.   Joel Klein and Dick Vitale… separated at birth?  I thought I was going to hear a “dipsy-doo, dunk-a-roo ba-by!”  Which is to say, he’s awesome.”

9 Replies to “EEP’ed!”

  1. Much ado about nothing…to voucher or not to voucher, to block or not to block, to charter or not to charter, to accredit through schools of ed or not are diversions and expressions of self-interest. They shield us from real and hard questions we continue to skirt and avoid—what do we as a society want from schools, what is society’s responsibility to all its citizens, and how do the interactions of the teacher, the student, and the knowledge within a school and community support learning?

  2. JSP

    Many charters DO offer an answer to your first question. It’s that many low-income parents want their kids to be first in family to get a college education. What they want from schools is to graduate kids who can handle college level work.

    With traditional schools that serve low-income kids — despite doubling and tripling funding over the years, despite decades of effort to change them — the odds are less than 10 to 1, and usually closer to 20 to 1.

    So choice is hardly a diversion.

    Up or down: Do you support creation of schools that seek to deliver what many low-income parents want?

    Or do you want to skirt that issue, to use your phrase, with broad questions that guarantee paralysis?

  3. On Saturday, I was part of the “crowd” who participated in EEP’s rally on the Ellipse commemorating the 55th anniversary of Brown v the Board of Education decision. With the celebrities on stage outnumbering the folks in the audience, it was a deeply disappointing display of interest in the cornerstone of American democracy—education. I don’t think the threat of rain had much to do with the dismal turnout. Perhaps it was poor organization (word did not get around) or logistical snafus (late buses) that played a role. I hope that was the case. Otherwise it would be that education can’t seem to raise a crowd … certainly not like anti war demonstrations or anti abortion rallies can in DC. There were large groups of tourists milling around the Lincoln Memorial and Washington monument at the time of the EEP rally but none seemed to be interested in what was happening on the Ellipse. What’s wrong with this picture?

  4. I was watching on C Span and clicking back and forth to C Span II, watching Mark Rudd and Ishmael Reed. It was a perfect set of bookends, an old Weatherman apologizing for helping to destroy the more moderate SDS and a sexist novelist continuing to attack Ms Magazine on one channel. On the other channel, nobody seemed disturbed by the shout of “By any means necessary” in order to address a problem which must include collective bargaining. “By any legal means necessary” doesn’t have the same ring to it. All that was lacking was a sound track of Phil Oches singing “Love Me. I’m a Liberal.”

    Well, I’m a liberal and I don’t apologize for it.

    Someone must have gotten to Sharpton, because he kept saying that there is no consensus and he doesn’t know the answers. A few days ago the answer was to defeat the smiling liberals who he compared to George Wallace. What did you think about the “900 pound gorilla” question by the speaker who blamed NCLB and testing? or the entertainer who blamed everyone, then other entertainers, and then himself?

    By switching back and forth, I could listen and change channels before I got mad, and I followed two intriguing stories. Teachers have to always listen respectfully to the communities that we serve whether we agree or not. We need to not take certain comments personally. After all, who wouldn’t be angry at the deplorable conditions that remain 55 years after Brown?

    I can think of only one person who could have completed the triangle, agreeing with and yet challenging each position, saying hard truthes that nobody wants to hear, and then lay out a middle ground. We need to unite around that one person. President Obama needs us to pull together.

  5. GGW–I work with charters. There are good charters that serve low-income students well and there are good public schools that serve low-income students well. The opposite is also true for both structures. Just don’t see form or structure as THE answer. It’s harder and more complex and focusing on that issue diminishes action.

  6. The only way you get a crowd for education these days is to attract the people who make their living from the system. Those of us in the community are afflicted by the Three Fs – Frustration, Futility, and Fatigue.

  7. Watched on C-SPAN and was insulted by Joel Klein purposeful use of bad grammar and slang trying to appeal to a heavily Afro-American audience … shame on u

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