March 21 Protest: Student Lives Matter! Rise Up for Education Justice!

Student Lives Matter:

Rally and March for Education Justice!

Saturday, March 21

Rally 12 noon @ the Roundhouse (east entrance)

410 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM

SAY NO TO PARCC!

New Mexico’s 2015 legislative session is coming to an end, but our fight for education justice is only beginning…

Come join students, teachers, and everyone else who supports the true educational priorities of New Mexico on Saturday, March 21 at the east entrance to the Roundhouse for a rally (immediately after the session ends at 12 noon) along with state senators who have helped champion our cause.

After this rally outside the Roundhouse, we will march the short distance to Education Secretary Hanna Skandera’s home on Acequia Madre. Our message to Skandera? PARCC testing is personal! We are all sick and tired of greedy corporations like Pearson dictating the terms of our education, and our movement for education justice is not going away … We are only growing bigger and stronger!

stoptheparcc

Come with family and friends … Come to the Roundhouse before noon if you’re interested in witnessing the end of the legislative session in the House and Senate galleries. Bring your own signs!

Print the flyer! MARCH 21 SAY NO TO PARCC PROTEST FLYER

Learn more:  Like “Santa Fe #SaynotoPARCC” on Facebook

Join the Facebook event page: www.on.fb.me/1wEcVv3

            www.sayno2parcc.wordpress.com

Santa Fe students rise up against the PARCC test!

Santa Fe Public Schools School Board President Steven Carrillo Publicly  Applauds Student Protest Against PARCC Test Outside the NM State Capitol, and Urges Parents, Teachers and Community Members To Join the Student-led Movement ///
Meanwhile, Education Secretary Hanna Skandera Refuses to Meet With Hundreds of Anti-PARCC Students Gathered Outside Her NM Public Education Department ///

Students Vow to Continue Citywide Walkout Against PARCC Test

For a second consecutive day, hundreds of Santa Fe public high school and middle school students walked out Tuesday from their classes in protest against the controversial new computerized PARCC test that is slated to start next week and dominate class time throughout much of the rest of this school year.

Protesting Testing ::: Santa Fe, Capital High at the Roundhouse, January 24th, 2015 from Davideo Cortometraje on Vimeo. By 12 noon, around 250 students had gathered outside the busy New Mexico state capitol building to protest the PARCC test, while lawmakers and lobbyists worked feverishly inside in the midst of a 60-day legislative session.While most of the students chanting “Say No To PARCC” and “No PARCC-ing Here” were from Capitol High School and Santa Fe High School, youth from other schools including middle school also turned out.

Many female students were in attendance, but several male students in particular raised their voices above the crowd to articulate their reasons for being there, drawing loud cheers.
  One shouted, “We represent students of Santa Fe, New Mexico and of this United States of America! We will not stand idly by and watch as our entire high school career get based off of one test. We are here for a peaceful protest. We are here to protest against the PARCC test. Our voices will be heard!” Another, quoting British poet Suli Breaks, expressed, “Exams are society’s methods of telling you what you’re worth. But you can’t let society tell you what you are.””We are ranked fiftieth,” said another. “They are giving us the same exact test that Connecticut is taking. Is that fair? We are not going to take it anymore. Say no to PARRC!”

A fourth student declared, “”We are all here for a reason. We are all out here in this cold weather, freezing, to prove a point for the government.” As if on cue, Santa Fe School Board President Steven Carrillo, who had been observing from the periphery of the protest, spoke up to address the gathered students in mass. “I can’t tell you how amazingly happy I am to walk out…and see all of you here today,” Carrillo said after introducing himself, sparking loud cheers from the students.

“One of the things that is most important to realize,” Carrillo continued, “is our country has a very proud tradition of protest being able to move progress on so many issues, and your being out here today is testament to that.” “This number needs to grow,” he said. “This needs to include parents and teachers and community members. You all are tested enough. We don’t need nine hours of testing. What’s really important to know is the people that need to hear you are Cabinet Secretary Hanna Skandera.” “Bring her out,” the students chanted, interrupting the School Board President’s speech. After Carrillo informed the crowd that the the Department of Education office is across the street on Don Gaspar, the students marched over there and attempted to draw Skandera out to speak to them.
Some students went inside the NMPED building to negotiate for her appearance, while most stayed outside, continuing their chants. After about a half hour, a male NMPED official came out and announced that the Education Secretary was not willing to speak to the group. Disappointed but not giving up, the students vowed to return another day. Shortly thereafter, the protest ended around 1 pm. Santa Fe High School students announced they were returning to their campus and would continue to protest outside the school library. Other students returned to class at their respective schools or otherwise dispersed into the city. Back at the Roundhouse, School Board President Steven Carrillo was not surprised that Hanna Skandera had refused to meet with the students. But if history is a guide, so long as the student protests against PARCC keep growing as Carrillo hopes they will, Skandera may soon have no choice but to stop ignoring the uprising and meet with its leaders. Initially planning to protest all week, student leaders changed course late Tuesday and announced on Facebook they are calling on everyone to be in class on Wednesday and Thursday, before returning to the streets and to the halls of governmental power on Friday. They were worried that parents can be taken to court to justify 3 straight unexcused student absences. “We don’t want any trouble like that,” one posted anonymously on Facebook. For more background on this issue, read the mainstream media reports. 017 022 030 046

I will fight these standardized tests: PARCC Protest Speech for Renewable Energy Day

PARCC activists speak at Renewable Energy Day ::: Roundhouse, Santa Fe NM January 27th, 2015 from Davideo Cortometraje on Vimeo.

Melachai Ramirez

PARCC PROTEST SPEECH FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY DAY PRESS CONFERENCE (Feb. 27, 2015)

Hello, my name is Melachai Ramirez. I am a representative for Santa Fe High School and other schools district wide. I would like the opportunity to thank every single person who came out this entire week to help protest standardized tests and our education system.

You people are all leaders, without you, these protests wouldn’t make as much of an impact. I feel as if most people are still confused about the movement and are still not fully informed about the real issues here. This is why I am here today. I am here today to clarify what our main goals are and to stop false information given out by other peers and adults throughout social media and television media.

The PARCC test is one of our first opportunities to demonstrate competency toward graduation. We are allowed to try to demonstrate our skills another way if we have attempted the state required standardized test, which is now PARCC. Our guidance counselor can provide a full list of alternative demonstrations of competency (ADCs) which are available in each subject area. If you do not take the standardized test you are required to demonstrate your skills in reading, writing, math, science, and social studies in order to graduate. You must take the PARCC exam unless you have a parent signed refusal form prior to taking it. If you miss your scheduled exam due to an absence, you must take it during a make­up session. If your parent has not submitted a refusal form, failure to take the PARCC test can jeopardize your chances of graduating and/or graduating on time.

There has been a ton of confusion regarding the chances of jeopardizing your high school diploma. You will only jeopardize your chances by refusing to take the test without parent consent. If your parent decides to opt you out of the PARCC test a new door will be opened to alternative demonstrations of competency.

We are not only here to protest the standardized tests. We are also here to discuss the education system in our state. New Mexico is ranked 49th in the country for education. We need to change this number! We want to expand our Sustainability program (known as ASE, the Academy for Sustainability Education) at Santa Fe High School throughout the district in a proper manner. ASE is directed towards the exercise of education by kinetic learning and real world activities. ASE will help us change New Mexico’s future in so many different ways. From taking on the era of renewable energy, to helping the homeless into homes, and even taking a step into green building, everything that has to do with real situations in life, ASE provides. ASE will teach us how to take on these real world problems so we can make a difference in our community and get out of the “pothole” that this education system dug us into.

We need to be taught how to make a difference in our communities here in New Mexico and all over the world. My education as well as every public school student in New Mexico is based off a test that has no real world purpose and is only used to categorize the children of New Mexico. School makes a huge impact on a child’s life if they are taught correctly about how to take on the real world problems that we face today and in the near future. School does not take a positive role if we are using it to just categorize everybody who is in it by taking these standardized tests. What Pearson doesn’t realize is that we all have a future. They are giving us this test to fail! Pearson is just in it for the money, plain and simple. They are a multi­billion dollar corporation who is giving us a test to fail and make money off our failure.

I personally will not give up for what I believe in. I will fight these standardized tests, I will fight the Board of Education, I will protest until changes are made. I want to make a difference in our community. If you understand where we are coming from here, please join us and help us take a step closer to our goals. Standardized tests will no longer control who we really are. We want change and change starts NOW!

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Protesting the PARCC test in Santa Fe, a week in review

On Monday, February 23, at 10:25 AM, 250 students across Santa Fe, New Mexico walked out of school to protest the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, the new high-stakes standardized test that 11 states including NM have adopted. Most of the striking students went downtown to the Roundhouse, the state capitol where the annual legislative session is now going on, while others stayed at Santa Fe High School to speak with Superintendent Joel Boyd, who urged students to write letters of concern regarding the PARCC testing to Secretary of Education Hanna Skandera and said he would personally deliver them to her. The following day, 250 students walked out again—this time, converging on Skandera’s office, who declined to meet with us—followed by a smaller walkout, with the same result, on Wednesday. On Friday, 200 students walked out and converged on the Governors Office, where we briefly held a silent sit-in and delivered handwritten petitions. We then rallied outside, before most students went inside the Senate gallery to sit and respectfully watch several Democratic senators on the Senate floor articulating problems with the extreme testing regime, including its monopolization of instructional time, privatization agenda, technological failures, and boon to greedy corporations like Pearson at the expense of real learning. Meanwhile, two Santa Fe High student protest leaders spoke at a “Renewable Energy Day” press conference in the capitol rotunda about our concerns with the PARCC tests, our support for the new Academy of Sustainability Education (ASE) that launched on our campus this year, and our dreams of expanding this solutions-based alternative throughout the Santa Fe public schools district. Many students met in smaller groups with State Senators, and Senate Education Chair John Sapien agreed to hold a meeting with us the following week. Thousands of students were expected to walkout across New Mexico on Monday, March 2, the first day of PARCC testing. You can learn more about our movement, see videos of our protests, and read my Renewable Energy Day speech at www.sayno2parcc.wordpress.com.

by Melachai Ramirez, Santa Fe High School student, Academy of Sustainability Education cohort