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A Eulogy for Public Education: Demonstrators march in Grand Rapids and denounce the policies of Betsy DeVos

October 9, 2017

About 60 people gathered in downtown Grand Rapids yesterday, to hold a mock funeral for public education.

Organized by the Michigan Student Power Network, people met at Monument Park, most dressed in black, to eulogize Public Education in the US. Those who organized the action handed out a small document, something you might find at a funeral, which read in part:

It is with great sadness that we announce the impending death of the great institution of Public Education. After years of living on life support, Public Education is now in the terminal stages of its long battle with underfunding, privatization, segregation, and rich political donors, it would seem that the end is drawing near for this vital institution.

Shortly after 2pm, one of the organizers read the entire statement, a statement that was offered up as a eulogy in this video.

After the eulogy, the march/procession began with people carrying signs, banners, flags and coffins, each speaking to the death of public education. The group of 60 marched west on Fulton Street, then around the arena district, to end up back on Fulton Street. Here is a short video of the march/procession.

Along the route, the march/procession made stops at the downtown GVSU campus, the GRCC campus and back to Monument Park. At each stop there were speakers addressing a variety of issues such as the assault on Title IX policies, which will decrease the efforts to support those who have been sexually assaulted on school campuses across the country.

Another speaker addressed the issue of budget cuts for education, especially to programs that are offered to students with disabilities and other marginalized groups.

Another speaker addressed how the Secretary of Education and her policies have and will impact the Grand Rapids Public Schools. This speaker also addressed the relationship between Betsy DeVos and the Superintendent of the GRPS.

Along the march/procession route, there were a few detractors, but most people responded positively to what the action was drawing attention to. As expected, the police got involved early on in the march/procession (see photo above) and even threatened people at one point with arrest if they didn’t get out of the street.

You can follow the Michigan Student Power Network on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/michiganstudentpower/?ref=br_rs.

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