Thursday, March 29, 2018

Opt Out Press Conference: Attacking DOE Propaganda and Lies

...none of the changes the DOE's latest propaganda video brags about would have happened without the action, dedication, and hard work of the Opt Out movement. This video is enraging, our public dollars being used much like the way the charter schools market to us. A big price tag production to push these already expensive tests, while our teachers pay for supplies and parents sell cupcakes for enrichment programs. We are speechless and appalled. (For this, I call BS.) ... Janine Sopp

Janine’s speech is near the end of the livestream. She’s probably too modest to say so, but it was a barn burner.... 
 
Magnificent! I was shaking---over and over--- as I listened to all the great things Janine had to say. Yes Janine's speech was a barn burner---and the rest of you were tremendous too, including the kids! ...
---Comments re: press conf March 27, 2018 at City Hall
Janine Sopp is a lion of the opt out movement. I met her when we premiered our film, The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman in May, 2011. From then on Janine has been unstoppable. Here are her comments to the change the stakes listserve after the press conference: See her speech near the end of the livestream feed.

Janine Sopp, March 27:
Thanks to all of you who made it to City Hall this afternoon, and to those who showed support in other ways. It was quite an adventure getting all the pieces together, and so many of you had a role in making it happen. This was a big undertaking and you were all so fantastic to work with. I feel the need to share my report and my insights:

We had a wonderful turn out of students, parents and teachers, and a strong message from our City Council Education Committee Chair, Mark Treyger along with statements by CM Lander and Dromm. There was not much press, probably due to our 4 pm timing and/or late alert, but Robert Jackson was kind enough to livestream on Facebook. We certainly called out the DOE, and as promised, they updated their FAQ to include a paragraph about opt out. We are being told by our Council Member's office that a hard copy will be sent home in backpack mail. We certainly know tremendous damage has already been done, and their suppression campaign has been effective. For sure, if it weren't for strong activists in our city, nothing would have been done to counter this damage. We are so proud of the children who stood in front of the camera and spoke. I think we need to give them the mic more often!

This needs to be seen far and wide, so please share where you can. We made the point that none of the changes the DOE's latest propaganda video brags about would have happened without the action, dedication, and hard work of the Opt Out movement. This video is enraging, our public dollars being used much like the way the charter schools market to us. A big price tag production to push these already expensive tests, while our teachers pay for supplies and parents sell cupcakes for enrichment programs. We are speechless and appalled. (For this, I call BS.)

We were so proud of our youth for speaking truth to power, for their ability to tell their stories, and for the amazing speakers who addressed not only the issue of testing and parent rights, but issues around equity and whole child education. IMO, whatever happens this year in terms of numbers, we know we are up against some very strong forces who want to see their agenda come into our reality. We are still a small group of organizers in a city that is impossible to cover without a huge team. It's also getting more and more clear to me that our efforts will need to expand beyond opt out and by building alliances with other groups and across a variety of subjects. We have to find a way to bring all these factors into a huge mobilizing effort.

In my most recent conversations on our opt out hotline, I've spoken or met with many parents who express such appreciation to know they have this right. They learn by different means and are willing to take this step, even if they are the only one in their school. They say this information is power, and they are motivated to advocate for their children. I believe opting out and the advocacy around it can be a gateway to further engagement and parent empowerment in schools. These parents I speak with have expressed so much ​about what they observe is happening in education and to their children. They are not unaware, in fact, they are very aware of what is happening, how testing has taken the place of learning, and the ills it creates. And they want better and they want more, and they feel this step is their way to protest. I only wish we could find ways to bring their voices to the forefront. We are beginning to, they are willing to speak out and speak up. I guess this is the part I value more than anything. That families begin to understand they have a voice.

I hope we can find the strength we need to slay this Golliath. Our ​statewide ​ opt out numbers clearly scared the powers that be, and they needed to squash us much like they did Occupy Wall Street. What our youth are doing now, we must support to grow. I look forward to discovering what our next steps will be, as I remember this is a journey.

I didn't expect to write this much, but after today's press conference, the incredible effort that went into the crafting of these points and working alongside such great minds and talented visionaries, I am humbled and needed to share. Don't forget to read the press release below and watch the livestream.)

​It is an inspiration and a motivation! Wishing everyone a wonderful spring break before the tests, and do all you can to keep spreading the word that parent's have the right to refuse. If you need more postcards, give a holler. Hoping to have the new one by the end of this week.

W​hose schools? Our schools!
Best,
Janine 

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