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SOCM and USAS to Host Forum & Discussion on Defending Public Education in TN – Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment

SOCM and USAS to Host Forum & Discussion on Defending Public Education in TN

4/16/15 – SOCM and USAS to Host Forum & Discussion on Defending Public Education in TN  – Panelists include local and national teacher, community, and labor activists

SOCM and USAS to Host Forum & Discussion on Defending Public Education in TN

Panelists include local and national teacher, community, and labor activists

Murfreesboro, Tenn.  – On April 22th 2015, the Social Justice Committee of Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment (SOCM) and United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) will host a panel discussion on the future of public education in Tennessee.

The event will be held in the Cason-Kennedy Nursing Building, Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) Room 201 and will begin at 6:30pm. Admission is free, although donations will be accepted.

Public education is under threat across Tennessee. Our schools have not only suffered decades of chronic underfunding, but are now being dismantled and handed over to private interests. Teachers are losing what few workplace rights they have left while politicians scapegoat them for every challenge facing public education. In the classroom, students are stuck with an increasing regimented, test-based curriculum. Meanwhile, universities and technical colleges are becoming more corporatized, with staff and students paying the price through wage/benefit cuts and higher tuition.

But communities in Middle Tennessee are fighting back. The Social Justice Committee (SJC) of SOCM and USAS are joining with teachers, students, and other community groups from across the state to build a strong, inclusive movement to defend public schools and the communities they serve.

The event will feature short presentations from local activists and organizers, featuring Scott Martindale (SOCM and United Campus Workers), Chelle Baldwin (Tennesseans Reclaiming Educational Excellence – TREE), Molly Handler (Nashville public school teacher and activist), and a special USAS guest who will also be joining us via Skype to share insights from their experience in Teach for America.

There will be a facilitated group discussion, following brief remarks from each panelist. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions, share their experiences, and contribute their ideas and strategies on how we can secure the future of public schools.

“The route out of poverty and inequality starts with education,” says Dylan Ross, SOCM Social Justice Committee Chair, “Holding public school educators accountable to a system that private providers are not held to creates inequality. Local communities and parents are asking for greater involvement in the decisions around how their children are education, and these are requests we can’t afford to ignore.  We urge community leaders in Middle Tennessee to listen those most affected.”

“This event shows that the movement to defend public education continues to grow in both Tennessee and around the country,” says Lewanna Thomas, USAS Organizer, “USAS and our new chapter at nearby Vanderbilt University are excited to work with SOCM in confronting the threats facing our schools.”

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