Occupy Austin protesters interrupted an event led by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Mar. 8 at Austin Community College in Austin, Texas.
According to reports, Duncan took the podium to applause at the second annual South by Southwest Education Conference. However, once applause dissipated, three supporters stood up and shouted a statement that they’re calling a “mic check.”
“This message comes from teachers, parents, & education activists,” the protesters shouted. “We are aware of your attempts to privatize public education. We are aware of your agenda to corporatize public education. Our schools are not for sale.”
“As Secretary of Education your job is to discover a way to provide schools and teachers public resources and funding,” they continued. “Not from private charters and corporations. We refuse to allow the continued push by the one percent to infiltrate our public education systems.”
After the interruption, Duncan spoke to the audience about making college more affordable and the strides that Austin Community College made in using the private sector to get students available jobs.
“There are about 2 million high wage, high skilled jobs that are going unfilled,” Duncan said according to the University of Texas Daily Texan newspaper. “We have to break these barriers. Part of the reason we’re here is that we think ACC is doing an extraordinary job of building those public-private partnerships.”