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Wisconsin Families: Public Education Is A Civil Right

This article is one in a series on the National Week of Action for Public Education. Please click here for more.

Fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, inspiring the nation with a soaring call for equality and unity as Americans that still resonates today. But achieving equality in the form of jobs and freedom depends on a strong public educational system available to all -- a truth reflected in the "Public Education is A Civil Right March and Rally" held recently in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Representative Mandela Barnes and Senator Chris Larson were among the hundreds of Wisconsin students, parents, educators, faith leaders, and representatives of more than 50 organizations sponsoring the event who marched together on September 21.

Protecting and strengthening our public schools is a civil rights priority, one that should unite Americans no matter the skin color or language spoken. It's why the Wisconsinites marched together for the state's public schools -- and to protest both the deep budget cuts harming Wisconsin students, especially the state's most vulnerable children, and the troubling trend of privatization that's threatening the public schools in the state.

Specifically, those who marched called on state leaders to make good on the following goals: 

  • Fully fund public schools to provide a world-class education for every student in Wisconsin’s public schools.
  • Keep locally elected school board members and a strong taxpayer voice in school governance.
  • Stop the move to for-profit schools and privatization of public education.
  • Hold all schools that receive public tax dollars, including voucher schools, accountable to the law, taxpayers, parents, and children.
  • Require quality physical infrastructure for all schools throughout Wisconsin.

PSN lawmakers Representative Barnes and Senator Larson sponsored the march and rally as part of the National Week of Action for Public Education sponsored by Progressive States.  The "Public Education is A Civil Right March and Rally" was a success -- in bringing visibility to the issue, highlighting the state leaders' commitment to all children, and reinforcing the mandate they've received from their constituents: make Wisconsin's schools work for every child.

Communities Coming Together -- Event Participants Included the Following:

Women Committed to an Informed Community
I Love My Public School
John Stocks, NEA Executive Director