Protesters ‘Occupy’ Arne Duncan’s Austin Speech

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U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was in Austin on Thursday, where he was a keynote speaker at South by Southwest’s second annual SXSWedu conference. He also made a stop to speak to a crowd at Austin Community College’s Eastview campus for a “town hall” discussion on education issues.

After being greeted by applause, Ducan received an unexpected "welcome" as Occupy Austin members stood and shouted out "Mic check," proceeding to read out a prepared statement attacking the privatization of public schools and other educational grievances:

This message comes from teachers, parents, and education activists.

We are aware of your attempts to privatize public education.

We are aware of your agenda to corporatize public education.

Our schools are not for sale!

As Secretary of Education,

Your job is to discover a way to provide schools and teachers,

public resources and funding,

not from private charters and corporations!

We refuse to allow,

the continued push by the 1 percent,

to infiltrate our public education systems!

Our schools are not for sale!

Our students are not for sale!

Our teachers are not for sale!

Occupy! Austin!

Duncan and the Obama administration’s “Race to the Top” educational program has been opposed nationwide by educational groups and teachers unions due to the program’s performance-based standards, emphasis on testing, and openness to charter schools.


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