The resolution "Stop the Attack on Public Education and Defend Equal Funding and Quality, Free Education for All" reflected delegates’ concerns as parents — and, for many, as workers employed by public education institutions. (Appropriately, the resolution was read to the Convention by Heather Kopelson, Local 896, whose local union represents graduate employees of the University of Iowa.)
The resolution declares: "A system of free, universal and comprehensive public education is the working-class alternative to education as a PRIVILEGE, available only to the wealthy."
'LET'S FIGHT FOR THEM'
"These are our children’s schools and our children’s education. Let’s fight for them," the resolution says. The union is committed to popularizing "the demand for EXPANDED public education, extending down to age 3 and beyond the 12th grade" — with "Federal funding to achieve 20 years of free education for everyone, including early childhood and adult learning programs," and "increased federal and state investment in local school districts, assuring all communities equal economic resources to support quality education."
Shirley Thrush, Local 799, spoke strongly in support of the resolution, both as a school worker and as the mother of a special-needs student. The resolution for provision of full services and accommodations for students with disabilities.
Marianne Hart, District 10, denounced Proposition 38, which would establish a voucher system in California and further undermine public education.
The Convention adopted the Policy Action plan, that calls for: union education on the attacks by corporate forces on the public education system; workshops for 2001 district council meetings dealing with education issues, including corporate-sponsored "high-stakes" testing, vouchers and privatization; a "UE Program for Education" for use with UE members and allies; making defense of public education a prominent theme at the March 2001 national political action conference.
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