We Won’t Be Bullied by Unions or Any Other Anti-Choice Critics

Mar 1, 2019 12:00:00 AM

by Tanesha Peeples

You know, I find it real interesting that teachers are supposed to promote anti-bullying in schools but their unions constantly use bullying tactics to intimidate people who support school choice. It happened in Chicago when the Chicago Teachers Union was trying to muscle the CEO of Civitas Education Partners, LeeAndra Khan, into a contract by striking a few weeks ago. https://twitter.com/applejack32/status/1095785817786724359 Now it’s happening during the Oakland teachers strike. Let’s be fair, Oakland teachers get paid way too little considering they live in one of the most expensive areas in the country. But the situation in Oakland has escalated to an outrageous level. I mean, these activists are real life gangsta. Showing up at a local charter school leaders’ house and harassing them? Wow! https://twitter.com/radiokeri/status/1099396245569851392 Then, school board meetings are being cancelled because the safety of school board members is in question.   And to top it off, every day this strike goes on, it’s costing millions of dollars that could actually be puts towards education. As if all that isn’t enough to be pissed about, they always want to throw the term “privatized education” around to convince people that reformers are trying to tear down the public education system. They even called OUSD school board member, parent and activist, Jumoke Hinton Hodge, a privatizer. https://twitter.com/citizenstewart/status/1100865178734858248 Well let’s talk about who’s benefiting and who’s suffering from a true privatized education. First of all, how dare anyone accuse a Black or Latino parent of pushing an agenda of privatized education when our kids have been systematically legislated and zoned out of access to decent public schools for generations. The fact that schools in predominantly White districts get 23 billion dollars more than those that serve students of color is exclusionary and points to inequitable funding practices that disproportionately affect those students. By the way, shoutout to intentional and longstanding segregation that’s kept Black and Latino kids from getting into those better funded schools. Also, schools that are predominantly White tend to have more challenging classes and coursework while Black and Latino schools have less high-rigor coursework. TNTP’s Opportunity Myth report proves that these students often receive coursework below their grade levels because their teachers don’t believe they can do grade level work. It’s called the belief gap.   https://twitter.com/ColinESeale/status/1090790801573990400   Don’t even get me started on racially charged and biased discipline practices that send Black boys down the school-to-prison pipeline while White boys follow the school-to-politics pipeline. Bottom line, White kids get to enjoy certain privileges, advantages and access in public education while Black and Latino students are knocking on closed doors, jumping through hoops and over hurdles to reap half those benefits. So don’t tell me that choice advocates shouldn’t fight for something better because this current system, fundamentally, is a privatized education. And that’s why I am entirely grateful for others who fight, day in and day out, for quality and equity for Black and Latino kids, despite heavy opposition. School board members, like Director Hodge, who remain unbiased and truly work for students and families. Organizations and groups like La Comadre and the men of 8 Black Hands who are keeping it real on the education front.   https://twitter.com/8BlackHands1/status/1095079592207966209   School leaders like Sharif El-Mekki and Christopher Goins who incorporate their experiences as Black men and expertise as educators to deliver culturally relevant and important curricula to their students that tackle issues in social justice. And parents like Gwen Samuel who will stop at nothing— even suing her state—to make sure all our babies get fair and equal treatment.   https://twitter.com/RealTalkGwenS/status/1100071006650204160   So y’all can stop calling us privatizers—we’re advocates for access, school choice and reform. And I’ll say this again for the people who may have missed it the first time:  We’re fighting for liberation and we won’t back down. We can’t be swayed or distracted by education politics, we won’t be bullied by unions or any other anti-choice proxies. We’re not giving up on our kids or communities. https://giphy.com/gifs/nene-leakes-pSauCNBp1DcOY

Tanesha Peeples

Tanesha Peeples is driven by one question in her work—“If not me, then who?” As the former Deputy Director of Activist Development for brightbeam, Tanesha merges the worlds of communications and grassroots activism to push for change in the public education system. Her passion for community and relentless mission for justice and liberation drive her in uplifting and amplifying the voices and advocacy of those that are often ignored. Tanesha wholeheartedly believes that education is the foundation for success. Her grand vision is one where everyone—regardless of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender or ZIP code—can have access to a comfortable quality of life and enjoy the freedoms and liberties promised to all Americans. And that's what she works towards every day.

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