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HB 897 has been changed, but I still think that that it focuses too much on creating and funding Charter Schools. I think that the fact that legislators still call charter schools public schools can appease us. But, it’s something that they still advocate charter schools since charters don’t have to accept all students, particularly the students with behavior problems. In my opinion, I feel that this is a process toward privatization of public education. My vision is that fully funding public education must be the priority in order to improve public education. We need those 20,000 plus laid-off teachers laid off back so classroom size won’t be so large. On February 8 in Raleigh, North Carolina the Moral Monday Movement gathered together a massive rally estimated to be between 80,000-100,000 people. Sparked by the actions of the North Carolina Moral Monday organization, the movement is spreading and growing across Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee and other states. The rally was staged as a kickoff for 2014, particularly “Freedom Summer 2014,” commemorating the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer in the South. The Moral Monday GA Coalition was inspired by the Moral Monday movement in North Carolina. It is led by North Carolina NAACP President Rev. William Barber who has served as a mentor here to build a collective voice of the people to be heard over the voices of big money and repressive government. Rev. Barber spoke about the meaning of the Moral Monday movement to the crowd assembled to launch Georgia’s Moral Monday movement on January 13 in Atlanta. Moral Monday GA has gone on to conduct events that demand the expansion of Medicaid and healthcare for all, the repeal of Georgia’s Stand Your Ground law, and for quality education for all. As Tim Franzen, a leader of Moral Monday GA says, “Our state budgets are immoral.” Rev. Barber noted that he believed that there was “a longing in the hearts of most Americans for moral justice.” Moral Mondays, he says, “is a transformative coalition rooted in the language of a moral movement.” To change America, you have to change the South. The state governments in North Carolina, Georgia and across the South have been taken over by extreme politics (government of, by and for the corporations) that have a common agenda. And as Barber puts it again, if we all have a common adversary, then why fight separately? This is the meaning of “Together.” “An attack on one of us is an attack upon us all. An injury to one is an injury to us all.” www.gae.org | 25 Why I joined the GA Rallies By Retired Educator Gloria Slaughter I was impressed with what happened in North Carolina this summer with the Moral Monday activities. As a retired teacher, I have been distressed with the funding cuts for education that have occurred in the Georgia State Legislature in past years and some of the draconian bills that are coming up before the house and senate presently. Mike Belleme/The New York Times/Redux


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