Matt Damon Speaking at the Demo Teachers from all over the US gathered in the capital Washington DC last weekend to demonstrate against privatisation and stand up for public schools US teachers at the march, which was endorsed by both US teaching unions the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), are protesting against the direction of Obama's schools policy, which includes the acceleration of privatised charter school programmes, the withdrawal of union negitating rights in some states, attacks on pensions, cuts in public school budgets, increases in high stakes testing and the linking of pay and tenure to testing - in short the whole range of neo-liberal education policies which are being faced by teachers to a greater or lesser degree all over the world. There was a large delegation of teachers from Wisconsin who have been facing particularly vicious attacks from their state government (see previous posts). The rally was addressed by teachers from around the US as well as actor Matt Damon who spoke movingly of his commitment to public schools and the debt he owed them. Leading education scholar and writer Alfie Kohn told Education Week:  "We are living through what future historians will surely describe as one of the darkest eras in American education -- a time when teachers, as well as the very idea of democratic public education, came under attack; when carrots and sticks tied to results on terrible tests were sold to the public as bold "reform"; when politicians who understand nothing about learning relied uncritically on corporate models and metaphors to set education policy; when the goal of schooling was as misconceived as the methods, framed not in terms of what children need but in terms of "global competitiveness" -- that is, how U.S. corporations can triumph over their counterparts in other countries. "There will come a time when people will look back at this era and ask, "How the hell could they have let this happen?" By participating in Saturday's march, by speaking out in our communities, we're saying that we need to act before we lose an entire generation to this insanity. The corporate-style school reformers don't have research or logic on their side. All they have is the power to impose their ignorance with the force of law. To challenge their power, therefore, means we need to organize. We must make sure that the conversation about the how's and why's of education is driven by educators." To read more about Saturday's march go to: http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/2011/07/alfie_kohn_we_have_to_take_bac.html