by Seth Johnson | May 10, 2011
Protesters outside a Washington, DC, conference for individuals, organizations and policymakers dedicated to privatizing public education
Hundreds of protesters gathered outside a Washington, DC, hotel to protest the "American Federation for Children" conference at which Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett and former DC Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee were speaking on the merits of various school privatization schemes.
Since leaving the DC school system, Rhee has become a 'school reform celebrity' offering her consulting services to GOP governors such as Walker, Rick Scott in Florida and John Kasich in Ohio as they present their own budget and education proposals. Even as her own achievements are being called into question, Rhee found a friendly audience inside the conference.
Outside was a different matter. Protesters who had traveled from Pennsylvania and even as far as Madison, WI, chanted "Save our Schools" and distributed leaflets making the case that Dick and Betsy DeVos, the billionaire funders of the group sponsoring the conference, have the ultimate goal of privatizing the entire public education system and replacing it with a voucher system.
Just as AFSCME members are doing at rallies across the country, the protesters at this event made it clear that we will not let the privateers destroy our public schools in order to increase their profit margins.