Who is Paul Mann?
Paul Mann was a dedicated and innovative educator from Iowa, member of the Peace and Justice caucus of the National Education Association (NEA) and long time supporter of creating autonomous schools for Mayan children in Chiapas, Mexico. When Paul died unexpectedly in the fall of 2006, his family, friends, and union colleagues came together to consider what would be a fitting memorial for Paul. The decision to raise money for the "Paul Mann Memorial School" in Chiapas was the result.
The "Pass the Hat for Paul" campaign began at last year’s annual NEA convention in Washington, D.C. and will continue during this year’s convention (June 26th through July 6th) in San Diego. At last year’s NEA convention, supporters raised just under $10,000 for the construction of the “Paul Mann Memorial School”. The school has already attacked students, who are currently studying in make shift classrooms and outside under trees.
The students (age 10-17) arrive at school on foot, often having walked several hours from their home communities. The school is a boarding school and the school calendar has students studying for 30 days and returning home for 15 days during each 45 day cycle. With help from the collection at last year’s NEA convention, the municipality (which provides all construction labor without any compensation) has built both a cocina (communal kitchen) and a comedor (dining hall) for the students.
In addition, sand and gravel for the construction of a concrete floor within the large adobe building has been procured, the electricity has been installed and the lights are on in the “casa grande” which will begin functioning as a dry classroom... just in time as the rainy season has now begun in earnest.
We are dedicating our summer delegations to Paul and his memorial school... and we hope you will join us. Here’s how you can be a part of the Paul Mann Dream team this summer.