Arkansas advocate, Anika Whitfield, is honored with the first Diane Ravitch “David Award”
ARKANSAS ADVOCATE, ANIKA WHITFIELD, IS HONORED WITH THE FIRST DIANE RAVITCH “DAVID AWARD” FOR COURAGE IN PUBLIC EDUCATION ADVOCACY
At our annual conference, the Network for Public Education was proud to present our first Diane Ravitch “David Award” to honor a courageous individual. The award is in keeping with the theme of Diane’s latest book, Slaying Goliath.
Our choice as the first recipient of the David Award is a remarkable woman from Little Rock, Arkansas. Her name is Dr. Anika Whitfield. Anika is a civil rights activist, a minister, and a podiatrist. She earned the David Award by fearlessly standing up to the Arkansas state government and the Walton family, which owns the state, or thinks it does.
The state wants to take control of the Little Rock school district because six of its 48 schools have low test scores. The state has never demonstrated any expertise in running schools or districts. Anika has organized resistance with a group called Grassroots Arkansas.
She often writes letters to the Governor and his state commissioner of education. She saw the Governor in a coffee shop and did not hesitate to go in and try to talk sense into him. She is fearless, she is persistent, and for her fight to protect public schools, she is richly deserving of NPE’s first David Award. Congratulations, Anika Whitfield.
NPE’S STATEMENT ON THE SUPREME COURT’S DECISION IN CARSON V. MAKIN
The ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in Carson v. Makin forces taxpayers to fund religious education in states with school choice programs, a radical departure from American values and traditions. With this decision, the Court eradicated the separation between church and state regarding public funding for education, opening the door to future decisions that would further mandate the public funding of religious education.
We are deeply concerned not only for the immediate results of this decision, which forces three states, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, to include religious schools in their town tuition program but the further implications for the public funding of religious charters schools. You can read our complete statement here.
The Network for Public Education will continue to fight for the preservation and improvement of public schools and stand in opposition to all religious and secular attempts to privatize them.
GOT A GREAT PUBLIC EDUCATION STORY? TELL IT TO A NATIONAL AUDIENCE
Last year, our sister organization, NPE Action, launched Public Voices for Public Schools. On the site, you will read compelling stories from everyday parents, school board members, and educators about how they protect public education and their experiences with privatization.
We now want to include stories about the great things that our public schools are doing. We are actively seeking stories about innovative, student-centered, and/or inclusive practices in our public schools.
Do you have a great story to tell in 700 words or less? Send us a proposal. If it is chosen, you will receive a modest stipend as a thank you and a chance to work with a journalist to help make your story come to life.
If you would like to tell your school’s story, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Put “my story” in the topic line. In the email, include: your name, school, and district, and a no more than 100-word description of what you would like to write about.
MATT GARCIA JOINS THE NETWORK FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION
The Network for Public Education is delighted that Matt Garcia has joined our staff as a research analyst. Matt brings extensive content expertise in K-12 and higher education policy, learning, and social movements. His research with youth and community organizers gives him insights into those who speak out for equity-based education reform–groups of people so passionate they are willing to instigate and sustain social movements to change the fabric of public education itself. Matt is a Ph.D. Candidate in Education at the University of Colorado Boulder currently completing his dissertation on how civically engaged youth can transform public school systems. To read more about our Board of Directors and our staff, go here.