August 28, 2019 6:16 pm

Grassroots Education Network- August 2019 Newsletter

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The NPE Grassroots Education Network is a network of over 135 grassroots organizations nationwide who have joined together to preserve, promote, improve, and strengthen our public schools. If you know of a group that would like to join this powerful network, please go here to sign up.

If you have any questions about the NPE Grassroots Education Network please contact Marla Kilfoyle, NPE Grassroots Education Network Liaison at

Notes from Marla

As many of us return Back to School, you will see in this newsletter great ideas from across the nation for Back to School events, forums, campaigns, and actions.

National Organizing

Read Dr. Denisha Jones reflections from Defending the Early Years first leadership institute. In the Public Interest’s informative article How to Spot — and Stop — Privatization (of prisons, water, schools, etc.) Before it Happens is a must read and share. The Journey for Justice Alliance podcast On The Ground, hosted by Jitu Brown, airs every Monday at 6 PM CST. Make sure you check out their new website which follows all their actions and movements. J4J went to Puerto Rico in August to be part of a transnational meeting in defense of public education. Check out their livestream of the event. Fairtest publishes an amazing newsletter each week covering the flaws of relying on standardized exams to make high-stakes educational decisions. Rethinking Schools heads Back to School with their plan book for social justice teachers – Planning to Change the World 2019-2020The Parent Coalition for Student Privacy has toolkits for parents, students, and teachers that detail how to protect data privacy. Go to their website to access and share these excellent resources. Parents for Public Schools National published a series on their website celebrating the unsung heroes within their communities who show how to make positive change. Parents Across America’s position papers and key documents are a valuable resource for parents. Go to their website to access and share. At this year’s annual Social Impact Exchange conference, Schott Foundation Vice President Edgar Villanueva spoke on a panel with other philanthropic leaders to discuss how funders can help address the systemic problems at the root of so many of the challenges we face. The Badass Teachers Association Quality of Worklife (QWL) team held an informative webinar this month on Educators Facing their Fears. For the archive of that webinar go here. For other informative webinars from the QWL go here. The Trinational Coalition to Defend Public Education (USA) exists in a network with many other organizations in Canada and Mexico. Check out their network here. The Ontario (Canada) Secondary School Teachers Federation issued a statement on the STEM and skilled trades not being fully funded with the government’s cuts to the provinces high schools. Wear Red for Ed tracks the Red for Ed movement nationwide. Check out their open Facebook page for the latest on the Red for Ed movement. Find out what Save our Schools March is up to by following their open Facebook page. First Focus Campaign for Children produced a fact sheet on how the proposed SNAP rule will overwhelmingly harm children and their family members. They also co-sponsored a tweetstorm on August 14th. Check out the hashtag #HandsOffSnap to learn how you can raise your voice for children and their families. Please make sure to visit the Network for Public Education’s 8 Powerful Voices for Public Education video series.

NPE Grassroots Education Network – State Organizations Support Public Education

Please use this clearinghouse of information to inform people in the various states about the NPE Grassroots Education Network organizations. Please encourage people to join them and support their work! Call on family, friends, and colleagues to join the fight to save public education! This section is also a place to get great ideas on organizing and actions.


SOS (Support our Students) open Facebook page will keep you up-to-date on what is happening as Alabama students head back to school.


Robin Hiller from Voices for Education hosts a podcast on Saturday. Robin, and her co-host Al, discuss a variety of education issues. Make sure you give it a listen and a share. The Arizonans for Charter School Accountability report Unfunded Mandate? Do What The Arizona Department of Education Does: Just Ignore It is a must read to understand the impact of unfunded mandates on schools in a time of cutbacks on education funding. Save our Schools Arizona had a successful community education event. They went out and spoke to hundreds of community members about the power of public education. Also on August 8th, SOS Arizona celebrated the two year anniversary of their effort to block voucher expansion in Arizona! Rebecca Garelli from Arizona Educators United was featured on KJZZ radio talking about money that teachers spend out of their own pocket to prepare their classrooms for students.


California Educators United encouraged members to submit public comment in support of the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum – Curriculum Frameworks & Instructional Materials (CA Dept of Education). Public Core is an organization of West Contra Costa County parents, teachers, community members, and school staff who fight for public control and accountability in their schools.They believe that public schools, open to all, are essential to the health of a democratic society.


The Pueblo Education Coalition is providing updates to Pueblo citizens on the constitutionality of the state takeover of Risley.


More Than a Score member Jesse Turner wrote a powerful essay titled Assessment Should Not Be Something Done to Learners. Re:public Ed work with Connecticut communities to inform residents about state, local and federal education policies that harm kids. New London Parent Advocates are a group of parents and community members who care about their students’ success and want to improve their schools. They are focused on increasing parent involvement and creating positive change in the New London Public Schools.


Fund Education NOW , Broward BATs, Florida BATs, and the Opt Out Florida Network co-sponsored a protest rally to rein in Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran. Broward BATs and Florida BATs also attended the Broward Board of Education meeting to raise their voices for public education and teachers. Pastors for Florida Children Rev. Rachel Gunter Shapard was a guest columnist in the Florida Times Union – Jacksonville. Her article Neglecting Our Public Schools Has Devastating Ripple Effects is a powerful essay on why we need to nurture and fund our public schools. The Florida Council of Churches attended the Rise for Refugees press conference on August 2nd. Check out the press conference herePinellas Parents Advocating for School Improvements is a parent-driven initiative that is not associated with any one school and is open to all parents. Pinellas Parents Advocating for School Improvements are parents coming together to offer support and solutions to the problems children face in Pinellas County.


Public Education Matters Georgia shared an important video on how Georgia funds it public schools. Moms and Dads Now Enduring Surrealistic Stupidity (MADNESS) Georgia seeks to build the parent led opt out movement, to defeat the Opportunity School District (OSD), and to build awareness and support for school improvement strategies like community schools and an equitable public education system.


Parents for Public Schools Hawaii attended a meeting in August on the effects of trauma on their keiki.


Save the Date! Illinois Raise Your Hand will be holding a fundraiser and social on October 22nd called Raise a Glass for Raise Your Hand.


Indiana Coalition for Public Schools – Monroe County posted the calendar for their Board of Education meetings and encouraged all members to attend. Indiana Coalition for Public Education published a poll from Indiana Week in Review about whether Indiana should move away from its A to F grading system for schools. 86% said that it’s time to move away from grading school systems on an A to F scale. Representatives from the Indiana Coalition for Public Education sat on a panel at the Beyond the Jargon: Connecting the Dots of What’s Happening to Our Schools event in Indianapolis.The Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education published their most popular links on social media. A great idea for organizing and drawing interest from the public about the issues in public education. Northwest Indiana Coalition for Public Education will be hosting an event called Teacher Voices: What (and Who) We’re Fighting For on September 5th.


Iowans for Public Education is a grassroots movement to protect and support Iowa’s tradition of quality public schools. Check out their movements on their open Facebook page.


Game On for Kansas Schools provides the big picture and resources on what citizens need to know about the fight for public education in Kansas. Visit their website for more information.


Dear JCPS hosted Dr. Marty Pollio on August 1st for a discussion covering education justice is racial justice. We will report on that event in our next newsletter. Kentucky SOS tabled at Fancy Farm to spread the news about the power of public education. Pastors for Kentucky Children shared a powerful prayer for teachers as they head back to school.


The Baltimore Algebra Project is a youth led organization with the goal to ensure that all students have access to quality education. Keep up with their movements by visiting their website.


Citizens for Public Schools will be hosting their next house party on September 25th. Go here for more information. The New Bedford Coalition to Save our Schools hosted a West End Action Dialogue in August to discuss the positive aspects of New Bedford Public Schools, ways to strengthen them, and how to protect public education.


The Michigan Network for Equity in Education continue to expose the latest in the Benton Harbor state takeover plan. Save Michigan’s Public Schools is a grassroots network of concerned citizens. Their goal is to connect parents, students, educators and communities across Michigan and raise awareness of threats to public education. Michigan Parents for Schools shared that the Michigan Alliance for Families would be hosting a series of Back to School Webinars. Please share this with any parents you know in the state of Michigan. MI Ed Justice joined the network in August. We are excited to have them in the network! To learn more about their work go here.


Parents for Public Schools – Moss Point keep the Moss Point community up-to-date with all the latest events in their community. In July they shared such events as a Lego-Palooza for Families at the local library, a webinar for persons with disabilities, and dates for school board meetings. Parents For Public Schools of Greenwood and Leflore County shared an important video on their Facebook feed about the power of language and how adults in schools can create a more positive environment for children. Parents For Public Schools of Philadelphia exists to EDUCATE parents, ENGAGE parents, and MOBILIZE parents in the Philadelphia Public School District. Make sure you give them a follow on Facebook. Parents For Public Schools of Starkville developed a great idea in 2017. Have incoming seniors sign a graduation pledge. This is a fantastic activity for Back to School!


Keep up with the actions of the Missouri BATs on their twitter feed. Columbia Parents for Public Schools promote real parent engagement with educators and the education system in order to improve education and build public support for public schools in Columbia.


Stand for Schools shared their commitment to making sure all children have access to nutritious meals year round. They were concerned that a new study showed Nebraska ranks 49th among the states for participation in the federally-funded Summer Food Service Program. Nebraska Loves Public Schools went back to school by sharing their amazing film projects that take seriously the responsibility to educate others about what goes in education today.


Make sure to check out Educate Nevada NOW initiatives on their website.

New Jersey

Save our Schools NJ reported that two good education bills became law in New Jersey during the month of August. Read about the laws here. Give The Newark Students Union a follow on twitter to follow their movements. Keep up with the Delran Education Association by checking out the Issues and Actions area of their website. Elizabeth Parents And Students Care is an education advocacy group that provides a platform for stakeholders to address concerns, share ideas, and establish capacity to support needed change in Elizabeth, New Jersey. If you are a resident of Elizabeth join their closed Facebook group to connect. Montclair Cares About Schools shared information about the announcement of a new superintendent in Montclair. We will report more on this in our next newsletter. Give Our Children Our Schools a follow on twitter to see what they are up to. South Orange-Maplewood Cares About Schools joined the NPE Grassroots Education Network in July. If you live in the South Orange-Maplewood section of New Jersey please ask to join their closed Facebook group and connect with organizers in your area.

New York

Class Size Matters was a co-sponsor in a letter sent to the NYC Speaker and the NYC Council about the failure of the NYC Mayor to include the public in deliberations of the School Siting Task Force or even involve its own members in writing its report. The Alliance for Quality Education informed parents in high needs school districts to submit a letter of intent by August 30th for Pre-K programs. NYSAPE and LI Opt Out continue to stay on top of the requirement for NYS students to take exit exams to graduate. NYS Regents are rethinking the Regents exit exams in NYS. If you live in NYC give NYC Opt Out and Change the Stakes a follow on Facebook to keep up with the test resistance movement in NYC. NY BATs joined the National BATs organization in calling for a boycott of Walmart for back to school shopping. FUSE (New Rochelle Federation of United School Employees) teachers are heading into a new school year very soon. Give their President’s News and Views a read. For the latest in ECE (Early Childhood Education) give ECE Policy Works a follow on twitterMORE-UFT sent a delegation to attend the UCORE (United Caucus of Rank and File Educators) conference last month. They also held an important training for teachers on how to use the UFT contract in their schools. Jackson Heights People for Public Schools continue to mobilize and inform the community about events to help children and their families. Parents for Public Schools- Syracuse is part of the movement to assist the Syracuse School District in becoming a trauma informed school district. Public School Watchdogs is a group of NY parents who came together to oppose the DeVos appointment. Find out what they have been up to on their Facebook page. Croton Advocates for Public Education (CAPE) is a group of residents that want restoration of funds promised to their schools, fair assessments, and enrichment opportunities for every student. Port Washington Advocates for Public Education is a community group dedicated to providing information on education issues that are relevant to the Port Washington (Long Island) community. If you live in the Port Washington community please join their closed group to connect and organize. North Country Alliance For Public Education is a dedicated group of parents and citizens who want to stop the over-abundance of high stakes testing and privatization that is taking over their schools. If you live in the North Country of New York consider joining their closed Facebook group to connect and organize.

North Carolina

On September 21st Public Schools First NC and Great Schools in Wake will be hosting a screening of Resilience: The Biology of Stress & The Science of Hope! The film examines how abuse, neglect and other adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) affect children’s development and health outcomes in adulthood. Public Schools First NC and Great Schools in Wake will also be holding a conference, Impact of Privatizing Public Schools: A Crisis in the Making, on October 12th. For details and registration go hereParents for Public Schools of Pitt County held a book fair at their local Barnes and Noble on August 18th. Suzanne Miller, an organizer for North Carolina Families for School Testing Reform, appeared on NC Policy Watch. Take a listen to her informative interview here. North Carolina Families for School Testing Reform also circulated a petition to request a full Investigation by the NC Dept. of Information Technology into the Istation contract process and request a one year delay in the implementation of Istation. We will report on the outcome of this request in our next newsletter. Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods sponsored a Youth Racial Equity Workshop on August 19th and 20th. We will have an update in our next newsletter.


Ohio BATs joined with their national organization in a call to boycott Walmart for back to school. Public Education Partners (PEP) send out informative newsletters each week. If you have friends, family, or colleagues in Ohio make sure they sign up to receive the PEP newsletters to stay informed about what is happening in public education. It Takes A Village To Tackle HB70 shared concerns with their members about the large amount of administrative shuffling in the district. Go here to read more. Northwest Ohio Friends of Public Education announced that one of their leaders, Dr. Ruslan Slutsky, was sworn in as a member of the Sylvania Board of Education. His advocacy and knowledge of education issues will certainly be an asset on the board. Parents For Public Schools of Greater Cincinnati was one of the sponsors of the 15th Annual Back2School Carnival and also held a Parent Leadership University to educate parents about school awareness.


Pastors for Oklahoma Kids’ Clark Frailey delivered a keynote address on August 6th to encourage the amazing staff at Bristow Public Schools as they begin their new school year! Oklahoma Parent Legislative Action Committee was featured in the local news for using their voice to promote more education funding. As families head back to school Oklahoma Parents and Educators for Public Education & Oklahomans for Public Education provided a resource on their website about 15 apps that parents should know about.


The Community Alliance for Public Education (CAPE) will be hosting a screening of the film Race to Nowhere on September 15th. Oregon Save Our Schools has an informative website that deals with topics such as opting out, testing, and data privacy. If you know anyone in Oregon, send them to the Oregon SOS website. Finally, if you know anyone who lives in Oregon make sure you tell them to join up with Oregon BATs in their closed Facebook page.


The Keystone State Education Coalition attended a focus meeting titled Federal Focus: Fully Funding IDEA on August 21st. We will have more on that meeting in our next newsletter. The Pittsburgh Task Force on the Right to Education shares events that are happening in the Pittsburgh area. Here they share the PEAL Center art contest on what inclusion means to students. Education Voters PA joined ⁦Governor Tom Wolf⁩ at Pocono Mountain West HS where he announced his charter school reform proposals. Gov. Wolf’s proposal will improve PA’s charter school law and benefit students and taxpayers. Pennsylvania School Board Association is preparing for their Leadership Conference in October. To learn more go here. All of the Pennsylvania groups celebrated Gov. Tom Wolf’s charter school reform initiative. To learn more go here.

Rhode Island

The Providence Student Union attended a press conference with Mayor Elorza, community youth organizations and parents demanding change to the Providence public school education system. Parents Across Rhode Island shared a letter from Rep. Marcia Ranglin-Vassell regarding the state takeover of the Providence School District.

South Carolina

The Quality Education Project holds monthly meetings to discuss initiatives for quality education and activities to improve their local schools. If you know anyone who lives in the Charleston area please share this information with them.


The Momma Bears exposed the use of dark money to send out thank you cards to state legislators for their controversial vote to undermine public education with the new ESA voucher plan. Pastors for Tennessee Children held a coffee talk in Chattanooga to discuss how faith leaders can advocate for public education. Tennessee Strong shared the Tennessee Education Report article on the struggles that many Tennessee teachers face under the current salary conditions.


Pastors for Texas Children spent the summer visiting north Texas schools. Here are some pictures to highlight their summer. They also helped teachers at Fort Worth ISD kick off the new year. Check out these great pictures! Finally, Rev. Charles Foster Johnson appeared on Baptist Without An Adjective podcast to discuss how churches can minister to local schools. He also discussed how advocacy is part of their ministry and how pastors in other states can start their own Pastors for Children group. CFISD Community Leadership Committee informed their members that CFISD will begin offering full-day pre-K for eligible children in January. The Coalition for Public Schools Texas is a coalition that represents over 3 million Texans statewide. Take a look at their coalition and encourage anyone you know in Texas to connect with a coalition partner in their area. Texas Kids Can’t Wait shared information on how charters have had an impact on teacher retention in the Longwood School District. RootEd went to the convocations of North East ISD and Northside ISD in San Antonio again this year. They asked teachers to come by and learn more about marketing their school from a parent perspective, to buy a T-shirt or sign, and pick up a free RootEd bookmark. Parents For Public Schools of Houston posts important events that they are sponsoring for the Houston community on their open Facebook page. Make sure you share it with anyone you know who lives in the Houston area. Community Voices For Public Education spoke at a press conference in August to oppose the state takeover of Houston ISD. Our Schools San Antonio joined the NPE Grassroots Education Network this month. We are so honored to have them and look forward to working with them. To learn more about their work head over to their open Facebook page and give them a follow on twitter.


Virginia Educators United attended the UCORE (United Caucus of Rank and File Educators) Conference in late July. Virginia BATs uses a closed Facebook group to organize in the state. If you are a Virginia educator or citizen concerned with the attack on public education, ask to join their closed Facebook group. Support Our Schools-Shenandoah County represents the Shenandoah community coming together to support education. Join this coalition if you live in the Shenandoah area.

Washington State

WA BATs had a powerful campaign on their twitter feed about the importance of music, art, and athletics in schools. Washington Paramount Duty published an informative white paper in 2016 on education funding in Washington. The paper highlights the importance of taxing the wealthy and corporations. Creating white papers is another great idea for organizing and getting the correct facts out there.


Wisconsin Education Network held their 5th Annual Summer Summit on August 5th. It was a great success and Gov. Tony Evers was the Keynote speaker. Schools and Communities United went to Puerto Rico with the Journey for Justice Alliance this month to take part in an anti-privatization conference. Check out their great photos of this event hereParents for Public Schools Milwaukee shared the Hunger Task Force, Inc. annual Statewide School Breakfast Report. The report ranks nearly 400 school districts on how they’re serving breakfast to hungry kids.

NPE Grassroots Education Network – Resources and Graphics

Here is a link to our resources page. It will help you navigate resources covering a variety of topics. This is a live document and will be updated so check back for new resources.

Here is a link to our graphics page. It will provide powerful visuals for you to share on social media. This is a live document and will be updated so check back for new graphics.