Students say NO to Corporate Education Reform

On Monday, students from the Philadelphia Student Union, Youth United for Change and Juntos brought the noise to the Union League to disrupt a corporate education reform meeting held in Philadelphia. Students used noise-makers, music and street-theater with the hope of being heard by the attendees of the closed corporate reform movement meeting, which included representatives from the Gates Foundation and the Philadelphia School Partnership.

Students from across Philadelphia have identified the attendees of this meeting as enemies to the institution of public education. “Corporate education reform groups have come to Philadelphia to share and learn tactics for making money while public schools in Philadelphia are in crisis,” said Sharron Snyder, a PSU member and a 12th grader at Benjamin Franklin High School, “They want to make money from education but we know that our right to an education is not for sale.”

Students planned this noisy action to tell the attendees of this meeting that student voice continues to be excluded by those who claim to be interested in “reforming schools”. At this creative action, students had music, noisemakers and street theater. There was a piñata as a “school” and student-actors represented the Governor, Mayor, City Council, Superintendent Hite, the Gates Foundation, and the Philadelphia School Partnership. The student-actors broke apart the “school” piñata to symbolize the purposeful disinvestment from public education by elected public officials and foundations that funnel billions into privatization plans.

“People should not be trying to make money off of a crisis like this,” said Benny Ramos, a YUC member and a 10th grader at Kensington CAPA, “It just shows that they don’t really care about the future of our public schools.”

In the last two years Pennsylvanians have seen $1 billion cut from state funding to public education. In Philadelphia that has resulted in 23 school closures and, this year, schools that opened with dramatically reduced staffing and student supports.

Below are pictures from our BRING THE NOISE action that took place on Monday, September 30th:

Students say NO to the corporate eduation reform agenda. (Photo Credit: Jeff Rousset)

The Philadelphia Student Union, Youth United for Change, and Juntos collaborated to create this action. (Photo Credit: Jeff Rousset)

The action took place in front of the Union League where a closed meeting was being held by leaders of the coporate education reform movement. (Photo Credit: Jeff Rousset)

Our supporters came out to show that it’s not just students who don’t want corporate education reform in Philadelphia. (Photo Credit: Jeff Rousset)

Students created banners and signs to show their demands. (Photo Credit: Jeff Rousset)

Students collected the money from the “public school piñata” after it had been broken apart by individuals, foundations and organizations, such as the Gates Foundation and the Philadelphia School Partnership. (Photo Credit: Jeff Rousset)

Students danced to the wobble outside of the Union League. (Photo Credit: Jeff Rousset)

While we danced and made a lot of noise, our pictures were snapped by people coming out of the union league to see the action. (Photo Credit: Jeff Rousset)

No revolution without dancing! (Photo Credit: Jeff Rousset)

Some students and organizers in a group photo outside of the Union League. (Photo Credit: Jeff Rousset)

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