United Public Workers for Action

June 25, 2010 Protest
of Union Buster and Privatizer US Education Secretary Arnie Duncan


Protest Picket of Privatizer Arne Duncan
Friday June 25th, 5:00 PM in the Library Quad at Foothill College
12345 El Monte Road in Los Altos Hills (El Monte Road and Interstate 280)

United Public Workers for Action
Founded January 2009
San Francisco, California

Press Release

The United Public Workers for Action will carry out demonstrations protesting the appearance of United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s participation at Foothill Community Colleges’ graduation ceremonies on June 25. Duncan will deliver the keynote address. The action at Foothill College, Friday, June 25, will begin at 5 pm. Duncan is the former chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Schools. Foothill College is located at 12345 El Monte Road in Los Altos Hills (El Monte Road and Interstate 280)

The intent of the UPWA actions is to show public outrage at the Obama Administrations’ privatization of Public Education policies; policies which are severely impacting state and local Public Education. Duncan, who is credited with raising test scores and educational standards in Chicago, actually facilitated the further privatization of Public Education in Chicago. This was achieved through the expansion of charter schools and the weakening of the public teacher’s union. The UPWA feels it is ironic and tragic that the Foothill-DeAnza Community College District is allowing a certified enemy of Public Education to give the keynote addresses at Foothill College and DeAnza College, at a moment when Public Education in California is facing a historic attack; an attack, which if not halted by public response, will destroy Public Education.

Since becoming Secretary of Education, Duncan has been the chief architect of the Obama Administrations’ “Race to the Top” education policy. Presented as a means to improve Public Education in the United States, that policy is the continuation of the three decade-long assault on Public Education which began with the Reagan Administrations’ “A Nation at Risk” policy. The intent of that policy has been to: 1) promote the expansion of privately-managed charter schools; 2) deepen the access to public educational resources for corporate-interests; 3) smash teacher unions, thus weakening the political power of those unions, and cutting the cost of teachers; and, 4) eliminate multicultural, revisionist, internationalist, and critical perspectives from the school curricula.
The 2008 collapse of the financial system, amplified by chronic over-lapping federal, state and local budgetary crises, has provided a “win-dow of opportunity” to intensify this assault.

The intent of Obama’s education policy was made clear in a statement he made, in February, 2010, after the Central Falls, Rhode Island school district fired 93 unionized teachers, alleging that they were responsible for “failing” standardized test scores. In what could be considered Obama’s PATCO Moment, he stated: “…if a school continues to fail its students year after year after year, if it doesn’t show signs of improve-ment, then there’s got to be a sense of accountability,…” Just like Reagan opened the door for the attack on unions when he fired 13,000 air controllers in 1981, unionized teachers now are increasingly vulnerable.

UPWA BACKGROUND AND CONTACT INFORMATION: The UPWA is an organizing committee and network, formed in 2009 by San Francisco Bay Area union members and activists committed to bring public workers in the state together to challenge the current economic/budget crisis in California. The objective of the organizers is to develop a unified-statewide coalition and present an alter- native political agenda to confront the economic/budget crisis in California in the defense of public workers and the recipients of public services. To inform public workers and the recipients of public services the UPWA will provide educational forums on the root causes of the crisis and its political implications, and the organization’s political alternative agenda.
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