Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Maine Joins Grassroots Movement to Undo Citizens United ~ @SenSanders

April 30, 2013

Speak truth to power NYC Thurs May 2nd 7pm -- fight the torture school, "School of the Americas"

Poke the Bee Hive, Rock the Boat, Cross the Line,
Speak Truth to Power

Father Roy Bourgeois and Medea Benjamin
Thursday, May 2, 7:30
The Brecht Forum 451 West Street, NY, NY 10014

Come support two leaders who have sustained the Antiwar Movement for decades. Join the growing resistance against U.S militarism, targeted killings through robot warfare and gross human rights violations. Be a part of the struggle for justice, dignity and accountability that Father Roy Bourgeois (founder of the School of the Americas Watch) and Medea Benjamin (CODEPINK/Global Exchange co-founder) embody through their eloquent words and evocative actions.

Father Roy will report back on the latest developments in the 22 year struggle to close the School of Americas including direct action at the border with Mexico, encounters with leaders in Latin America (six have pulled their troops from the SOA!) and tell why he was excommunicated by the Vatican for standing up for the rights of women.

Medea will enlighten us with excerpts from her explosive new book Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control and relate some of her daring exploits with CODEPINK: at the US Social Forum in Tunisia, within the U.S. Senate Chambers and beyond. She recently returned from Pakistan where she traveled with families of drone victims.

Join the resistance and learn how to become part of the solution.

Suggested Donation $15.00 Rsvp annedwl@aol.com 917 860-1794
Directions: http:/brechtforum.org/direction
For more info: www.SOAW.org www.codepink4peace.org

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

SOA Watch wins lawsuit to disclose identities of instructors & "graduates" of the school for torture ( I mean "School of the Americas")

SOA Watch News & Updates

Share this news on your Facebook page or your Twitter account!
A Victory for Transparency!

Exciting news!

After persistent effort, SOA Watch has won its lawsuit against the Pentagon for its refusal to disclose the names of graduates and instructors of WHINSEC (formerly known as the SOA).
Yesterday, Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton of California's Northern District Court, ruled that the Pentagon and SOA/WHINSEC had no grounds for secrecy when it comes to who is being trained at the multi-million dollar facility.

Read the press release here.

Up until 2004, SOA Watch requests for the names of SOA/WHINSEC attendees were granted, but following a report showing several human rights abusers were training and teaching at the "new school" (WHINSEC), the Pentagon decided to classify the names. In 2010, though the Obama administration tried to claim that its continued secrecy around the SOA/WHINSEC was in the "national interest", our grassroots movement pushed back.

Now: Contact your Member of Congress to let them know on which side of history they should stand.

As social movements in Latin America push back against against impunity, the historical records reflect the high degree of involvement of SOA graduates in the crimes of the past. Right now, in countries like Honduras and Mexico, death squads linked to the police and military are attacking social movements. It took years for activists and researchers to finally establish ties between SOA graduates and criminal activity during the civil wars in Central America. Our victory today is a victory for generations to come.

Pending a possible appeal by the Pentagon, we are looking for skilled researchers to help us sift through the thousands of names from nearly a decade of secrecy. If you are interested in helping, contact nico@soaw.org.

And remember: our beautiful struggle for justice cannot continue without all of our support. Donate today to ensure that we will continue summing all our efforts against empire!

To the Pentagon: You're a square!

Another world is possible!


The SOA Watch "Rock Your Courtroom" Crew

P.S. See you November 22-24, 2013, in Fort Benning!
Two Leaders of Honduran Campesino Organizations Murdered in the Aguan

On April 13th, the body of Julián Hernández (president of campesino organization MARCA - Authentic Movement for the Re-vindication of Aguán Peasants) was found murdered in Trujillo. Following the murder of MARCA's lawyer Antonio Trejo last fall, this murder is interpreted as sign of more death squad terror to come.

Then, on April 21, the general secretary of the National Association of Campesinos of Honduras (ANACH), Alfonso Bonilla, was murdered by assassins in his home.

These assassinations and death squad activity continue to occur in the Aguan amidst the heavy militarization of the area by troops and police of Operation Xatruch III, led by SOA graduate Germán Alfaro Escalante. Over 80 campesinos have been killed in the Aguan since the SOA graduate-led coup in 2009.

Contrary to what is often suggested in the press, the violence is not just random or drug- or gang-related; some of the most vulnerable sectors in society are frequent targets — those whose rights the US Department of State tells us it considers to be a high priority — women, the LGBT community, journalists, opposition party politicians and Hondurans who opposed the coup.

Read more Stories from Honduras.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Grassroot organizing activities to support public education #edujustice

Volume 1, Issue: #5
April 18, 2013

In This Issue

Student Organizing Webinar April 30

Welcome to the fifth edition of the NPE News! We have a new Note from Diane, and some other news of upcoming grassroots activities. Please share this newsletter with friends, so we can build our network of those working to support our schools. If you would like to make a donation, or become a member, you can do so here. And don't forget to "like us" on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter!

Note from Diane
Good News from San Diego, California
Dear Friends,

Earlier this week, I was in San Diego to speak to the annual meeting of the National School Boards Association. My message was this: American public education is not "broken," but federal education policy is.

Anthony Cody joined me and after my speech, we met with a large number of teachers from the San Diego public schools and some nearby districts.

We were joined by Richard Barrera, the president of the school board, Bill Kowba, the superintendent of San Diego schools, Bill Freeman, president of the San Diego Education Association, incoming superintendent Cindy Marten, and Dean Vogel, the president of the California Teachers Association. (photo shows Bill Freeman, Diane and Cindy Marten)

I was excited to be in San Diego because it has a vision that sets it apart from the rest of urban America, indeed, from most of the nation.

San Diego has purposefully set out to improve its schools through a process built on collaboration and trust. There is amazing respect among the local school board, the administration, and the teachers' union.

Together they have embarked on what they call community-based school reform. That means that every school is expected to embrace students, parents, and the local community and work together on behalf of the students

Of course, they take tests, and the scores look good, but the San Diego Vision is not about data, it's about the children.

Perhaps the most impressive symbol of San Diego's commitment to this vision was the board's decision to invite Cindy Marten to become the new superintendent when the current superintendent Bill Kowba steps down.

Cindy was principal of Central Elementary School, a very successful high-poverty school, where she implemented a child-centered community-centered approach. She is respected by her staff and parents. I met Cindy when I was in San Diego two years ago and toured her school.

Imagine a local school board choosing an experienced educator from within its own ranks! That is truly innovative!

Let's keep our eyes on San Diego. Their vision of trust, collaboration, and respect is far superior to NCLB and Race to the Top.


NPE Webinars Guide the Grassroots 

On Saturday, April 13, activists from the Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education presented ideas and advice in a webinar attended by Network members from all over the country.  
They shared a wealth of concrete suggestions for ways to educate and mobilize citizens around education issues. The video of the webinar can be viewed here

The next NPE webinar will focus on student organizing -- see the announcement below. 

NPE Webinar #2: Student Organizing 101

Student Organizing Webinar: Tuesday, April 30, 8:30 pm Eastern

Featuring student activists Stephanie Riviera, Sarah Smith and Israel Munoz.

These dynamic students will discuss the ways they have taken action to affect change around their own educational futures, and provide suggestions and advice for other students who want to do the same.

Stephanie is enrolled at Rutgers, and is a founder of Students United for Public Education. Sarah Smith participated in protests at the state capital of Wisconsin against Scott Walker, and now attends the University of and is active in

Israel Muñoz is a high school student in Chicago, active in Chicago Students Organized to Save Our Schools. He has been involved in the fight to stop the closing of more than fifty schools there.  

Register here . You will be emailed a link to the webinar a day or two before the event. 

Public Ed is Not For Sale --
but These T-Shirts Are!

Thanks to the hundreds of you who offered slogans or voted to help us choose the best one. The winner of the runoff, with more than 50% of the vote, was Public Education is Not for Sale!  

Please go here to our new store.Proceeds will support the cause.

Action Alert from Allentown, PA 

Teacher and parent Angie Villa let us know the schools there need our support.
We have a crisis situation here in Allentown, PA. Our school board has approved a "worst case scenario" plan of cuts to vital programs, despite public outcry.  What follows is from the Allentown Education Association:   

There is a proposed loss of 144 teaching positions. This would be a total of 350 positions since 2011. There will a loss of over 38 CORE SUBJECT area positions at both high schools.
Increased class sizes = loss of learning potential
Increased class sizes = discipline issues and safety risks

There will be a loss of related arts at elementary schools.
Music will be "restored" minimally to 2011-2013 levels (meaning students will only get 9 sessions of music PER YEAR.)
Art, physical education, and library will be cut completely.
ASD plans to OUTSOURCE art lessons. 

A Save Our Schools Rally is planned for this Sunday, April 21,  2-4pm at Cedar Beach Park in Allentown.

Read more here.

Please forward this newsletter far and wide! 

In solidarity,

NPE sq
The Network For Public Education