As many of you begin your journey “back to school,” we want to take a moment to thank you for your support of public education. We especially want to thank our teachers for their service to our nation’s children. They meet new students with smiles, generosity and love during a time when they are called upon to do more with fewer resources.
Have hope. We are making progress in restoring the respect and dignity that our public schools, their families and their teachers deserve. The Network for Public Education is part of a national pro-public education coalition that stopped a federal voucher bill. The thousands of letters you generated worked. The privatizers were sure they would get their new ESA voucher bill through in New Hampshire. It failed, thanks in part to our campaign.
Teachers around the country courageously stood up for their rights and the rights of their students to have better funded schools. In West Virginia, Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, North Carolina and Oklahoma teachers engaged in walkouts to demand better pay and increased funding for schools. Their protests resulted in some progress and their demands resonated with the public in their states–according to Ed Next’s recent poll, 63% of poll respondents in the states where there were teacher walk-outs support increasing teacher pay and there has been a 7 point increase in support of increased funding for public schools overall.
The expansion of charter schools has slowed, and NBC News aired a special news report on how charters are accelerating segregation. The media is taking notice. According to Ed Next, support for charter schools has dropped, especially among teachers–it declined from 44% in 2014, to only 30% four years later.
Our Report Card on Privatization in the 50 States is still appearing in news stories several months after its publication. Our message is getting through, but we have a long way to go. One way you can make a difference is by attending our annual conference.
Please register here and do not wait. Reduced rate hotel rooms are almost gone. If you need help with costs, on a limited basis, we can provide it. Just apply for a scholarship here. Take a moment to look at our exciting keynote and panel speakers. It is at the grassroots level that the pushback against corporate reform began, and our conference is where grassroots groups meet.
I recently presented our report card to the National Superintendents Roundtable. One of the arguments against charters and vouchers that resonated was how much charter schools cost taxpayers and schools due to stranded costs–the costs that are left behind when a student leaves for a charter or voucher school with funding. Take a moment to watch this terrific video from In the Public Interest. It does an excellent job explaining what stranded costs are and their impact on public schools. Then share it on social media. You can find it here.
Thank you for all that you do and have a wonderful new school year. We hope to see you in October.