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Viva Eastside Memorial! | Occupy AISD

Keep organizing and standing up for our schools
 
Statement by Occupy AISD

Today we are celebrating the news that TEA Commissioner Michael Williams will not be closing down Eastside Memorial High School as he threatened this year.  That Eastside is to remain open is a testament to the spirit and determination of a school community who refused to accept the label of “failing school.”

Over the last few months we had to seriously contemplate the possibility that TEA would close Eastside, dispersing the students in Southeast Austin’s only high school to other AISD campuses.  The Eastside community also feared a takeover by a charter management company which would have meant the loss of cherished teachers and programs.  And so we share in the joy felt by the students, families, teachers and staff who know they will be returning Eastside this fall.


TEA’s announcement represents a significant victory, especially when we recall the words of an AISD official who told us in January that the two choices facing Eastside were closure or takeover by the IDEA charter school chain.  It took the community organizing, scrutinizing every maneuver by Williams and AISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen, and speaking out time and again to resist the pressure to accept those false choices.

Our celebrations are tempered by the realization that Williams has been able to bully the Eastside community into accepting his dictates.  His threat to close Eastside was always discretionary — not automatically triggered by the state’s “accountability” rules but based on his subjective judgment.  First we were told that EMHS must partner with an entity “like IDEA,” the charter chain that had been vociferously rejected by the Eastside community.  Then we were told AISD must come up with plan for the entire EMHS vertical team.

Then as a final threat, Williams announced that AISD must agree to close down EMHS if it does not meet certain benchmarks going forward — something that was not mandated in AISD’s previous agreement with IDEA.  He also demanded affirmation of his right to close the campus at any time, again on the basis of his subjective interpretation of AISD’s implementation of Eastside’s “reconstitution plan.”

And so, EMHS lives on but under the continued threat of closure.  This is the opposite of the stability and support which Eastside’s students and teachers have said are the keys to its success.

We have to ask: Why was Eastside threatened in the first place?

Feb 8
(via Occupy Austin Gallery - The Austin Chronicle)

(via Occupy Austin Gallery - The Austin Chronicle)

(via Occupy Austin Gallery - The Austin Chronicle)

(via Occupy Austin Gallery - The Austin Chronicle)

Chicago Teachers go on strike over same issues as Occupy AISD is bring here in Austin #OATX

Chicago is on strike. Why isn’t Austin?


Rahm Is Intent On Shifting Funds To Untested And Unproven Charter Schools: Rahm has been laying the groundwork for a rapid expansion of charter schools, and wants to create nearly 250 more within five to ten years (this would amount to half the system). This massive diversion of funds from the public system is not based on the facts of what actually works for students. The most comprehensive study of charter schools in the United States found that most deliver results similar to those of public schools. Not surprisingly, Chicago’s charter schools are largely devoid of unions and the benefits they provide for students and teachers alike. Charter school teachers tend to earn 8 percent less than normal public school teachers — which makes them an attractive tool for austerity-prone conservatives. CTU wants a more fair distribution of funds.

http://boldprogressives.org/chicagos-teachers-just-went-on-strike-heres-everything-you-need-to-know-about-why/


This is the same thing AISD is doing here in Austin with the IDEA charter school.

Sep 5

Gulf Port 7 Solidarity Rally Outside APD Headquarters

What: A rally in solidarity with the 7 activists facing state felony charges after their arrests in the December 12, 2011 port solidarity action in Houston.

 

Who: Occupy Austin and allies.

 

Why: Occupy Austin is a non-violent movement dedicated to taking a stand against the undue influence of the top 1% of income earners over politics and government.  An undercover officer from APD infiltrated this peaceful movement and encouraged protesters to escalate tactics. Occupy Austin questions why police resources were used in this manner instead of investigating the wrong doings of Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase and Company, Wells Fargo, the American Legislative Exchange Council, etc. An undercover officer provided 7 people with the devices (known as lock boxes) that have resulted in state felony charges for these peaceful protesters. One of these 7, Eric Marquez, has been unable to make bail and has remained in custody since December 12th2011. He is an Iraq war veteran with PTSD, and has reportedly suffered from a staph infection because of the unsanitary conditions in the jail. An account to accept donations on behalf of Mr. Marquez and more information can be found at: https://www.wepay.com/donations/free-eric-marquez.


Who Should Attend: Activists, allies, supporters of free speech, defenders of civil liberties, friends, family.

 

When: Wednesday, September 5th, 2012. 4-6 PM

 

Where: Outside APD Headquarters

 

"Speech is Free. Expect Us" Message Supports Arrested Chalkers, Upcoming Protests

Austin, Texas August 20, 2012: Yesterday members of Occupy Austin and Peaceful Streets chalkupied the Texas State Capitol. In Austin (and nationwide), the simple act of writing with chalk on public sidewalks has faced persecution from law enforcement. On August 9, Occupy Austin joined Chalkupy the World, a nonviolent day of chalk writing declared by OccupyLA in solidarity with victims of a brutal police attack on chalkers by the Los Angeles Police Department in July. On August 9, Texas State Troopers arrested Audrey Steiner and Corey Williams while they chalked messages of free speech, healthcare and education on the sidewalk at 11th and Congress across the street from the Capitol.

On Sunday, August 19, about a dozen members of Occupy Austin, with support from the Peaceful Streets Project anti-police corruption group, returned to the Texas State Capitol to chalk together. The message they wrote on the pathways of the Capitol grounds: SPEECH IS FREE. EXPECT US. The message highlighted upcoming events which will be held during the Texas Legislature session.

Occupy Austin believes that the use of washable sidewalk chalk is constitutionally protected free speech, and several previous court rulings agree.

After her children witnessed the arrests on August 9, member Hillary Procknow, Ph.D. said, “People coming together, in public, to express themselves is something that makes the country better.

Sarah Dickerson, a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin said, “As someone deeply invested in art, both academically and professionally, I came to ‘chalkupy’ to ensure our freedom of speech and to promote human creativity. It’s a perfect, low-impact way for Occupy to spread its message because chalking is too delicate to cause any damage, and it washes away!”

Arrested for Chalking? Occupy Austin Members Face Misdemeanor Charges | KUT News

(via Occupy Austin in Pictures: The life and times of Occupy between January and May - News - The Austin Chronicle)

(via Occupy Austin in Pictures: The life and times of Occupy between January and May - News - The Austin Chronicle)

Mark Strama speaking on judicial campaign reform | July 2nd | Third Coast Activist

UT Tower Occupied by Occupy Austin. (via austin front: UT Tower Occupy Austin)

UT Tower Occupied by Occupy Austin. (via austin front: UT Tower Occupy Austin)

Mar 3
#OccupyAustin Says: Go Fly A Kite!
Occupy Austin is ending a busy week of actions and organizing by joining other Austinites at the 84th annual Zilker Park Kite Festival on Sunday, March 4th, 2012. The Festival begins at 10 AM and is located at 2100 Barton Springs Road. Occupy Austin participants will host a potluck picnic; enjoy flying homemade, Occupy-themed kites; as well as assist event organizers with trash and recycling pick up, while taking some time to enjoy ourselves and talk to other members of the community about their hopes and dreams for a better world. 
Participants are encouraged to bring the following:
Picnic supplies - blankets, camp chairs, reusable plates, knives, forks, spoons, napkins, food and drink.
Kite-making supplies - straws, dowels, bamboo, kebob skewers, plastic bags (to make plastic bag kites), markers, old shirts, old newspapers, kite string, scissors…etc
All are welcome. 

#OccupyAustin Says: Go Fly A Kite!

Occupy Austin is ending a busy week of actions and organizing by joining other Austinites at the 84th annual Zilker Park Kite Festival on Sunday, March 4th, 2012. The Festival begins at 10 AM and is located at 2100 Barton Springs Road. Occupy Austin participants will host a potluck picnic; enjoy flying homemade, Occupy-themed kites; as well as assist event organizers with trash and recycling pick up, while taking some time to enjoy ourselves and talk to other members of the community about their hopes and dreams for a better world. 

Participants are encouraged to bring the following:

Picnic supplies - blankets, camp chairs, reusable plates, knives, forks, spoons, napkins, food and drink.

Kite-making supplies - straws, dowels, bamboo, kebob skewers, plastic bags (to make plastic bag kites), markers, old shirts, old newspapers, kite string, scissors…etc

All are welcome. 

Mar 1
#Occupy #CityCouncil #ATXCouncil #OATX #Occupied

#Occupy #CityCouncil #ATXCouncil #OATX #Occupied

#A28 - Texans Unite Against the War on Women / #OccupyAustin #OccupyUT

All across the country, through legislative proposals, government regulations, and political rhetoric, war is being waged upon women, their bodies, their private interests, and their right to self-determination. This is occurring without, and in spite of, the participation of the same women being affected by these actions, and whose futures, and those of their families, are being unilaterally determined.

In this modern era of limits, people in power are in a race to divide the spoils of power, and the means being used are becoming more and more shortsighted. Saturn has devoured his son, and now looks to his daughters.

Our organization is determined to see that this race to the bottom does not claim the rights and liberties of over one half of the populace. We will not suffer the burdens of those whose ambitions would be fulfilled by the destruction of the human worth of the mothers, sisters and daughters of this great nation.

Enough is enough.

While the logic of the disaffection of the majority of the electorate is impossible to understand, we cannot afford to wait and see how this all works out. This war on women must be resisted, and won, before the toxic effects of the current national conversation become irrevocable reality. We have been denied a seat at the table, but will not be denied our humanity.

Please join us in changing the dialogue and refocusing attention toward the very serious issues this nation faces, and away from the disingenuous and perversely pornographic focus upon the sexual organs of our mothers, sisters and daughters, and their relationship with their physicians and their own bodies.

The issues include:

Reproductive rights
Woman’s health issues
Crimes against women and children
Workplace equality

There is a very real and growing non-partisan concern that women are being sacrificed upon the altar of ambition, and we are determined to deny Saturn his second course.

Thank for your help and support. Your mother, and your mother’s mother, and all women everywhere would be proud.