Grassroots Education Network- August 2021 Newsletter
The NPE Grassroots Education Network is a network of over 170 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 on.
If you have any questions about the NPE Grassroots Education Network please contact Marla Kilfoyle, NPE Grassroots Education Network Liaison at firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes from Marla
NPE Action/NPE Conference has been rescheduled. We are so disappointed to announce that we need to re-schedule our NPE/NPE Action conference for next spring. The date will be announced soon.
We were hopeful this time. We thought that by early fall there would be a vaccine for all children five and up. That looks to be delayed. Even when Delta began, we believed, as told, breakthroughs are rare. They are not. Every one in five infections in New Jersey, the only state that seems to be keeping track, is in a vaccinated person. 20% is not rare.
And so we realized that even with a vaccine mandate, we cannot protect you or the children and young students you might return to.
We ask for your patience once again. As public education advocates fight the uphill battle to save public schools that are under attack, we look with hope to spring of 2022. We will honor your tickets. If you canceled and were kind enough to donate your ticket, let us know, and we will make sure you get a free ticket in the spring.
With great affection for all of you and gratitude for your patience with us, please stay safe!
Network for Public Education Executive Director Carol Burris was interviewed by The Jacobin about how elites profit off “nonprofit” charter schools. You can read that interview here. Defending the Early Years announced that change is happening in the early childhood education world. One update they had was from Arkansas. Representative Jana Della Rosa filed House Bill 1409 this month. If passed, the bill would ensure all elementary school students receive at least forty minutes of recess every day thanks to the efforts of Parents for Active Learning. Let’s remember that today only 8 states make recess mandatory. Want to learn more about other states where change is happening, Check out DEY’s interactive Advocacy Map. In the Public Interest’s article discussing how Florida’s use of anti-mask hysteria is a tool to further privatize public education is a must read.
The Journey for Justice Alliance announced late last month that their coalition, Equity or Else, is launching Listening Projects. The listening projects will be centered around issues in your city and how you fight. Schedule a listening project in your city. Go here for more information. For all the problems facing our classrooms, schools, and communities, the barrier has never been a lack of good policy ideas, but a lack of political will. That’s a barrier only grassroots organizing can overcome. That’s why The Schott Foundation urges their philanthropic partners to support the education justice movement over the long haul: only through empowered parents, youth, and communities will we secure the equitable and just schools everyone deserves. Fairtest publishes a weekly testing resistance and reform news. Go here to access their weekly round-up. “When we talk about ‘teaching climate justice,’ a key piece of this means that we focus on how the crisis is crashing unequally throughout the world, highlighting the voices of those who are hit hardest and who have the fewest resources to stave off catastrophe — as well as emphasizing the resilience and resistance of these marginalized communities.” Read Bill Bigelow’s piece in the latest issue of Rethinking Schools magazine. The Parent Coalition for Student Privacy shared a report this month about a data breach that exposed the personal information of 3,000 NYC students and about 100 school staff. Parents for Public Schools celebrated their 30th anniversary this month! They will be holding an event at The Westin in March. For more information go here. Parents Across America has a public Facebook page that is great for interacting with others from across the nation about public education issues. Go here to join in the conversation.
The Badass Teachers Association (BATs) Quality of Work life Team will be holding a Twitter discussion in October on workplace bullying. Go here for more information. Trinational Coalition to Defend Public Education (USA) has a public Facebook group that features information from Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. about how communities are navigating the worldwide COVID crisis. The Ontario (Canada) Secondary School Teachers Federation published a COVID-19 Pandemic Update for OSSTF/FEESO Members – Issue 24 is available here. Wear Red for Ed has an active open Facebook page that tracks the Red for Ed movement nationwide. Uniting to Save Our Schools (USOS) works to create a public education system that is equitable, democratic, humane, and nurturing. Go to their website to see what they are working on this month. First Focus Campaign for Children Executive Director Bruce Lesley published a powerful article in Medium this month. Children Need Adults to Act Responsibly and in Their Best Interests is an important resource. Kinderchat continues to host its popular Twitter chat every Monday at 9 PM EST. The chats are informative and provide great resources for teaching kindergartners. Check them out on Twitter at #Kinderchat. Kinderchat also has a fantastic website full of resources. Instituto Nueva Escuela invited their community to leave messages on Facebook for their youth as they return back to school. Fairplay (formerly known as Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood) launched their Stop Instagram for Kids campaign this month. Go here to learn more. Congratulations to Equal Opportunity Schools for being awarded an NBA Foundation Grant. Go here for more information. When Public Schools Reopen hosted a free online movie viewing and discussion of the film Beyond Measure measure this month. Uniting for Children and Youth (Canada) are concerned citizens of Ottawa-Outaouais. Their mission is to build awareness of how we can make life better for children and youth. Head over to their open Facebook page to keep up with news, and events, from Canada. Be sure to check in with National Educators United on their website.
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) statement about the State Board resolution on Critical Race Theory.
Grassroots Arkansas showed up at their local Courthouse to support the overturning of Act 1002 (bans mask mandates). See the video here from Anika Whitfield.
Voices for Education posted that a Maricopa County Superior Court judge ruled this month that the Arizona law banning COVID-19 mask mandates in schools is not yet in effect and Phoenix Union High School District could continue requiring masks. Be sure to visit Arizonans for Charter School Accountability website that offers resources that compare charter school and public school spending. Save Our Schools Arizona set up 40 locations to get signatures for a budget that puts students at the center of education. Arizona Educators United conducted a phone bank and email campaign targeted to school districts to act on behalf of the safety of children and families.
California Educators United is a rank and file-led network of educators and supporters of public education. They are part of the movement for racial equity and social justice, fully funded public education through progressive taxation, and pro-public education and anti-privatization. To follow their movements, go here. The Public Core program, Between Two Teachers, is informative. To view all their archived programs, go here. The Association of RAZA Educators is located in Los Angeles. If you live in the area and are interested in joining their monthly meetings go here. Bay Area Collective Keeping Privatizers Away from Community Schools (BACKPACS) is an organization dedicated to strengthening and protecting public education in the Bay Area. Go here to follow what they are working on. Educators for Democratic Schools-Oakland open Facebook page reports all that is happening in the Oakland Unified School District. Parents Supporting Teachers released a statement this month about the positive COVID cases in LAUSD.
Pueblo Education Coalition’s goal is to represent educators, parents, community members, students, and all stakeholders towards positive change for Pueblo’s public education. To keep up with their movements, go here. Taxpayers for Public Education website is a great resource for all that is public education in Colorado.
Connecticut Public Schools Advocates Children are Connecticut families and educators advocating for safe, equitable, fully funded public schools. Please follow their activity here. Children Are More Than Test Scores founder Jesse Turner did a live reading of Just Being Dali this month. Re: public Ed informs Connecticut residents about the state, local, and federal education policies that impact teaching and learning. New London Parent Advocates updates their open Facebook page weekly with all that is happening in the New London Public Schools.
Fund Education NOW continues to inform the public on the Governor and Department of Education policies surrounding masks. Florida BATs and Broward BATs post the latest updates on how the Florida COVID surge is impacting schools. Go here and here for updates. Pastors for Florida Children applauded the statement by the Southern Poverty Law Center which was about Gov. DeSantis blocking school mask mandates. Florida Council of Churches is a catalyst for Christian unity and witness to God’s love for creation and all humanity. It is committed to a vision of antiracist Florida in church and society. Founded in 1947 from several interdenominational Christian committees working on farmworker rights, criminal justice reform, and global peace, it’s members include the Mainline Protestant Church and Historic Black Church denominations in Florida. To see what they are working on go here. Opt-Out Florida Network informed parents this month that if their children’s valuable elective was replaced by remedial reading or remedial math, based on test scores, they are telling parents to FIGHT IT. To learn more go here. Pinellas Parents Advocating for School Improvements organizes on a private Facebook page. If you know of anyone in the Pinellas area, have them join to connect. Protect Our Public Schools, Manasota believes that free, quality public education is a right for all children and is necessary for the optimal functioning of a democratic society. To keep up with their movements during the COVID-19 crisis, go here. Miami-Dade County Public School District Parents are asking parents to take part in the Miami-Dade County-wide PTA (MDCC) Action Alert on masks. UnitED for Florida Children Co-founder Laura McCrary wrote a powerful letter to school districts in Florida, who refused to protect students by not issuing a mask mandate of any kind. Hillsborough Public School Advocates organize in a closed Facebook group of over 4000. If you live in the Hillsborough School District, ask to join and connect. Democratic Public Education Caucus of Florida joined the network this month. You can follow their work here and here.
If you live in Georgia or know someone who does, make sure they connect with Public Education Matters Georgia. Moms and Dads Now Enduring Surrealistic Stupidity (MADNESS) has a vibrant public Facebook group that discusses how education in Georgia is going during the COVID crisis. If you are interested, here is the link to that public group. Opt-Out Georgia organized the opt-out movement in Georgia via a closed Facebook group of over 8,000 members. If you live in Georgia or know someone who does, encourage them to connect with this group. The Georgia Chapter of the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME) was founded in 1990 to bring together individuals from all academic levels and disciplines and from diverse educational institutions and other organizations, occupations, and communities who had an interest in multicultural education. NAME is committed to a philosophy of inclusion that embraces the basic tenets of democracy and cultural pluralism. To keep up with their movements, visit their website.
Parents for Public Schools Hawaii introduced their new officers this month.
The Indiana Coalition for Public Education celebrated 10 years of public school advocacy this month and also held a webinar with a panel of experts discussing what to expect in future legislative sessions and what we can do to make sure our voices are heard. Indiana Coalition for Public Schools – Monroe County has a podcast that you can listen to. It will help Indiana citizens keep up with all the important issues in Indiana education. The Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education posts their most popular Facebook posts weekly. Go here for a sample. Northwest Indiana Coalition for Public Education shared a great episode of the podcast “Have Your Heard.” The podcast was centered around why attacks on voting rights and public education are coming from the same places. Washington Township Parent Council Network hosted a webinar this month to highlight what MSDWT and Washington Township Parent Council have planned to help students this year.
Iowans for Public Education shared an article on Twitter about the great grassroots effort by parents of Iowa kids – asking the Iowa Board of Education to act – specifically to urge the Governor and the Legislature to rescind the law they just passed banning mask mandates in schools.
Game on for Kansas Schools informed their Facebook followers that anti-mask school board candidates are aligning with people and organizations that have consistently fought against public education funding and for vouchers. Read more here. The Personnel Association of Lawrence- Communication Workers of America joined the network this month. You can learn about their work here and here.
Dear JCPS congratulated Rev. Dr. Corrie Shull who is the new Vice President of the JCPS Board. Kentucky SOS is a grassroots stakeholder advocacy group dedicated to raising awareness of impending actions and legislation that could impact Kentucky public schools. They are building a unified front to protect Kentucky public schools from attacks by privatizers and billionaires. Pastors for Kentucky Children are asking everyone to take 60 seconds and pray for students this month.
We are sending our thoughts to all citizens of Louisiana who were hit by Hurricane Ida this month. Step Up Louisiana is offering support on their Facebook page.
The Baltimore Algebra Project works hard to end the school to prison pipeline. To learn more about them go here.
Citizens for Public Schools shared great news that Gov. Baker issued a mask mandate. The New Bedford Coalition to Save our Schools held their general membership meeting this month. We will have more on that in our next newsletter.
The Michigan Network for Equity in Education advocates for equitable, democratic public education in the state of Michigan by building coalitions and sharing information and research. To learn more about their work, go here. Be sure to check in with Save Michigan’s Public Schools for the latest in mask mandates throughout the state. Michigan Parents for Schools has an extensive website to help Michigan parents and educators. Be sure to check it out here. MI Ed Justice are educators, administrators, parents, students & community members who believe to save our public schools from privatization, we need to humanize our public schools. To learn more about their work go here. Trusted Voices ED advocates extensively for teacher pay on their social media platforms.
Parents for St. Paul Schools is a grassroots organization started by parents of public school students. They are in favor of an immediate moratorium on the expansion and creation of existing charter schools in St. Paul.. To keep up with their work, go here. Minnesota Collective for Educational Equity’s white paper, Pursuing Educational Equity in Minnesota Through a Statewide Multi-Tiered System of Support, is a must-read and share for anyone living, or teaching, in Michigan.
Parents for Public Schools – Moss Point supports their community with information about education, meals, vaccinations, and much more. Parents For Public Schools of Greenwood and Leflore County works on strengthening public schools by engaging, educating, and mobilizing parents in Greenwood and Leflore County. Parents For Public Schools of Philadelphia advocates for children and schools in the Philadelphia Public School District. Make sure you give them a follow on Facebook. Parents For Public Schools of Starkville is a local organization working to strengthen public schools in Starkville. They promote the great work being done in the Starkville Oktibbeha Consolidated School District.
Keep up with the Missouri BATs by giving them a follow on Twitter. Columbia Parents for Public Schools promotes parent engagement to improve education and build public support for public schools in Columbia.
If you live in Nebraska be sure to keep up-to-date with Stand for Schools on all the latest regarding Back to School. Who are Nebraska Loves Public Schools? They make films. They make shirts. They share the stories of schools today. Go here to learn more.
Educate Nevada NOW encouraged their members to attend an event this month to support funding public schools. Northern Nevada Parents and Teachers United was created in 2021 as a response to the growing frustration of parents and teachers about the state of Nevada’s schools. They believe that parents and teachers both want what is best for children, and our schools will only get better when those who work in them are valued and respected. To learn more about their work visit their website.
New Hampshire Leaders for Just Schools celebrated the dedicated educators who attended their summer event. Barrington Educators Association is the local chapter of the New Hampshire-NEA. You can view updated work here. To contact them about issues happening in NH, go here.
Save our Schools NJ conducted a commenting poll on their open Facebook page about virtual education in NJ. Check out The Newark Students Union events tab on their Facebook page. The posted events provide an excellent template for student organizing. The Delran Education Association is a local organization committed to ensuring excellence in public education. Give them a follow on Facebook. If you are a resident of Elizabeth, ask to join the Elizabeth Parents and Students Care closed Facebook group to connect. Give Montclair Cares About Schools a follow on Facebook to find out what is happening in Montclair education. Give Our Children Our Schools a follow on Twitter to keep up with any future events. South Orange-Maplewood Cares About Schools organizes in its closed Facebook group. If you live in this area or know anyone who does, please join the group here. Paterson Education Fund celebrated the city’s adoption of the Paterson Reads Community Solutions Action Plan!
Class Size Matters highlighted new legislation introduced late last month that would radically lower class sizes starting in the fall of 2022. Class Size Matters noted this was a gutsy move by its co-sponsors CM Mark Treyger and Speaker Corey Johnson. Follow New York Allies for Public Education on their website for the latest news on school openings in New York.. LI Opt-Out had a busy school year trying to help parents navigate the pandemic. To keep up with all they are doing to navigate the new school year be sure to visit their public Facebook page. NYC Opt Out has a vibrant public Facebook page that is keeping up with all the information on the NYC Mayor’s race. Go here to view that page. The Alliance for Quality Education hosted an education block party this month. Give Change the Stakes a follow on Facebook to keep up with what is happening in NYC education during the COVID crisis. NY BATs is the largest state chapter of the Badass Teachers Association, currently over 3,400 educators strong. Head over to their Facebook page to find out what they are working on. Give FUSE (New Rochelle Federation of United School Employees) a follow on Twitter to find out how they will navigate the upcoming school year. MORE-UFT stood in solidarity with Bronx Parent Leaders and educators fighting for a remote option this school year. Jackson Heights People for Public Schools has so much information on their discussion Facebook page that you need to head over to see what the community of Jackson Heights is up to. Check it out here. Parents for Public Schools- Syracuse shared Syracuse reopening plans here. Croton Advocates for Public Education (CAPE) advocates for fair assessments, enrichment opportunities, and funding for their schools. The Port Washington Advocates for Public Education closed Facebook group is a place to connect and organize if you live in Port Washington, NY. North Country Alliance For Public Education works to end the reliance on high-stakes testing and stop the privatization taking over their schools. If you live in the North Country of New York, consider joining their closed Facebook group to connect. Visit the Rochester Coalition for Public Education website for all that is happening with Rochester education, meeting schedules, and information.
Public Schools First NC and Wake County have released information about their upcoming conference. To register and get information go here. Be sure to visit the North Carolina Families for School Testing Reform website for valuable resources and information on testing. Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods conducted an important Organizers Circle with Dr. Paul F. Bitting about education. Pastors for North Carolina Children are holding on Wednesday morning at 10am, a monthly leaders gathering. This month they heard from @Love Our Children in New Hanover County about their work to end suspensions of 4-7 year olds in our Partner Highlight time. This month they also previewed Mission Amplify that’s launching this winter. Their next leaders gathering will be on September 22nd. You can register here to attend. Parents for Public Schools of Pitt County are partnering with Pitt County Schools and Suddenlink Communications to “Stuff the Bus” with school supplies for children this coming school year.
Be sure to keep up with the Ohio BATs on their open Facebook page. It Takes A Village To Tackle HB70 and It Takes A Village have provided information about upcoming School Board elections. Northwest Ohio Friends of Public Education is a citizen-driven, non-partisan movement to inform and engage Northwest Ohioans, at the community level, to support and strengthen public schools. To keep up with the issues they are working on, go here. Parents For Public Schools of Greater Cincinnati post upcoming events on their open Facebook page. Northeast Ohio Friends of Public Education have a fantastic website full of information that is centered around public education in Ohio. Public Education Partners (PEP) exposed that Ohio Senator Andrew Brenner is using COVID policies and curriculum issues to advance charter schools.
The Oklahoma Parent Legislative Action Committee was happy to be represented among the bill supporters for the Play to Learn Bill legislation signing this month. Pastors for Oklahoma Children posted a powerful quote by the United Methodists Church this month. Oklahoma Parents and Educators for Public Education/Oklahomans for Public Education have a private Facebook group of over 31,000 people. If you live in Oklahoma or know someone who does, share this link to connect. Oklahoma Teachers – The Time Is Now organizes in a private Facebook group of over 64,000 members. The purpose of the group is to unite all educators in Oklahoma to come together and educate, collaborate, and discuss what options they have moving forward to improve Public Education. If you know any Oklahoma educators, send them to this group to connect.
Community Alliance for Public Education (CAPE) is sponsored by a coalition of community members, parents, teachers from Bethel, Eugene, and Springfield, and professors from Pacific University and the UO. To find out what they are working on go here. Oregon Save Our Schools celebrated the fact that the Governor of Oregon signed a bill this month that would end reading and math proficiency requirements for graduation. Oregon BATs organizes in a closed Facebook group. If you are an Oregon teacher or community member, ask to join and connect.
The Keystone State Education Coalition publishes a daily PA education policy roundup. Pennsylvania School Board Association published their core values this month. The Pittsburgh Task Force on the Right to Education released their meeting dates for the 2021/2022 school year. Education Voters PA blog published a powerful piece this month. What is Going on At School Boards? is a must read. Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools latest blog addresses the fact that for the first time in APPS’ 9-year history, not one of their members was permitted to attend, or to testify, at a District Action Meeting. Teacher Action Group Wilmington is a member of the Network of Teacher Activist Groups, a national coalition of grassroots teacher organizing groups. They work together to build an education movement for liberation, locally and nationally, through shared analysis, political education, mutual support and learning, and joint projects. If you know anyone in the Bethlehem Area School District, be sure to contact the BASD (Bethlehem Area School District) Parents. They are a fantastic group fighting for children and public schools in the area. Here they post information for parents about a webinar that will address education beyond COVID.
The Providence Student Union Central High School’s Freshman Orientation was a success. They gave a special shout out to their amazing student leaders for holding these presentations. To keep up with what is happening in Rhode Island, give the Parents Across Rhode Island Facebook page a follow.
Quality Education Project’s are sharing all the latest on mask mandates in their state. Go here for one particular action.
The Momma Bears have a fantastic blog that covers all issues surrounding Tennessee education. Give Tennesseans Reclaiming Educational Excellence (TREE) a follow on Twitter to keep up with all that is going on in Tennessee education. Be sure to visit the Pastors for Tennessee Children website. It is full of valuable information and resources. Tennessee Strong continues to share articles written in the Tennessee Education Report. The latest article highlights how a teacher and doctor have lost their jobs for speaking the truth about race in America and vaccinations. Tennessee BATs organize out of a closed group on Facebook with over one thousand members. If you are a Tennessee teacher or a supporter of public education in Tennessee, go here and ask to join their Facebook group to connect.
Pastors for Texas Children are asking their Fort Worth area members to join them in honoring Senator Beverly Powell. Senator Powell will be awarded the Hero for Children award at Texas Wesleyan on September 28. CFISD Community Leadership Committee are parents, business owners, and community members, partnering with the CFISD and area lawmakers to enable the success of all children in the CFSID community. Members of Texas Kids Can’t Wait are advocates for equitable and adequate funding for Texas public schools and for a sane assessment system. They strongly oppose the corporate takeover of public schools. To follow their advocacy go to their open Facebook page. RootEd took part in Madison HS’s Welcome Back to School Community Event this month. If you know of anyone in the Houston community, please have them connect with Parents For Public Schools of Houston. They do fantastic work in the Houston. Community Voices For Public Education provided updates on SB 3 (classroom censorship), SB 2 (anti-trans athletes), and HB 28 (course content surveillance).Our Schools San Antonio is a coalition committed to community-driven public education in the San Antonio Independent School District. The Coalition for Equity in Public Education shared an article that Dallas school leaders announced to eligible families this month that a short-term virtual option for children too young to get the COVID-19 vaccine and those who are medically fragile is available. Texas AFT tweeted an amazing thread on Twitter about safety in schools. It is a must read and share.
Virginia Educators United is a grassroots collection of pro-public school people who act to support Virginia Public Schools. They organize in a closed Facebook group. If you are a Virginia educator, please ask to join and connect. Virginia BATs also organize in a closed Facebook group. If you are a Virginia educator, parent, or community member, please ask to join and connect. Support Our Schools-Shenandoah County organizes to fight for public education in that region. You can connect here. Virginia Public Education Partners shared that Virginia has issued a Public Health Order making masks mandatory in K-12 unless a student has a medical or religious exemption. School began August 23rd for Chesterfield County Public Schools in Virginia. There is significant confusion among parents about how lunches and class changes will be handled. Some parents have also suggested that claiming medical exemption is a “way around masking their children”. Teachers are concerned about the same parents not masking their students and sending them to school while sick.
WA BATs has an active Twitter feed full of powerful graphics. Check it out here. For more than five years Washington’s Paramount Duty is a non-partisan, grassroots group of parents and allies working to compel the state to amply fund basic education and swiftly fulfill its paramount duty. They envision a future where every child has equitable access to an amply funded basic education.
West Virginia United Caucus are a caucus of rank-and-file members dedicated to helping create a more democratic, member-run union, whose purpose is to help empower communities and workers around a common set of ideas. Visit their website to learn more about their work.
The Wisconsin Public Education Network has their 7th Annual Wisconsin Public Education Network Summer Summit available online. Go here to view plenary and keynote speeches. Schools and Communities United posted on their Facebook page that effective September 1, COVID-19 vaccinations will be required for general City of Milwaukee employees. Parents for Public Schools Milwaukee supported their national library of articles regarding the return to school and the Delta C19 variant.
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.