Grassroots Education Network- December 2019 Newsletter
The NPE Grassroots Education Network is a network of over 150 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
I want to wish everyone a prosperous and productive 2020. I hope to see you all at the NPE Action National Conference in March. Registration is still open but please remember that seats are limited this year to 500, so DO NOT delay your registration. Go here to register and book your hotel. There are fewer than 60 discounted hotel rooms left on Friday and Saturday nights.
Our next newsletter will be the New Year Edition. Please email me your most important accomplishment in 2019. Let’s show the nation how much we were able to accomplish without being bought off by privatizers!
Public Schools Week will be held from February 24th-28th. Start planning NOW by doing the following:
- Begin to ask your Governor, state and federal lawmakers, Mayor, City Council, or Board of Education to adopt a resolution in support of Public Education. Begin to do this now. You can adopt, edit, or modify this resolution from The School Superintendents Association. If you get a resolution please send it to Marla Kilfoyle at email@example.com and we will forward it along.
- National organizations please cut a three-minute video that encourages your members to participate in Public Schools Week. Here are the instructions for the video. To see sample videos please go here.
- Please share and ask your members to take the pledge in support of Public Schools week. You can do that here.
- Please consider hosting an event. Starting planning NOW and register your event here
- To learn more about Public Schools Week, messaging for 2020 and the #PublicSchoolProud campaign please go here and the toolkit has all kinds of amazing things you can do to support the week on social media.
Make sure you view, and share, Defending the Early Years video Play. Also, National Advisory board member, Erika Christakis wrote an article that was published in the Washington Post. The article, Should We Worry that American Children are Becoming Less Creative?, is a must read and share! In the Public Interest shared the Cashing in on Kids article about the Broad Foundation and their donation of $100 million to Yale University to support charter schools. The Journey for Justice Alliance podcast On The Ground, hosted by Jitu Brown, airs every Monday at 6 PM CST. Also, please check their new website weekly for action and events. Fairtest publishes a newsletter each week about the misuses and flaws of standardized testing. Rethinking Schools editor Jesse Hagopian spoke to the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association on “Teaching for Black Lives” and teaching and organizing for culturally relevant ethnic studies. To see and share, the video of his speech go here. The Parent Coalition for Student Privacy led the charge this month to have the network sign onto a letter telling the FTC NOT to weaken COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act). To see that campaign go here. Parents for Public Schools National have chapters all over the country. Please direct any friends, family, or colleagues to join one of their local chapters. Parents Across America submitted a powerful letter to the FTC regarding the weakening of COPPA. The Schott Foundation strategic work to achieve systemic change is concentrated in three major initiatives. To view those three initiatives go here.
The Badass Teachers Association (BATs) is featured on The Rick Smith Show frequently. This month, two BATs spoke about school segregation in Pittsburgh. The Trinational Coalition to Defend Public Education (USA) shared information about a march this month to remember the murder of teachers and students in 2015. The Ontario (Canada) Secondary School Teachers Federation President, Harvey Bischof, brought a message of solidarity at the Unifor Convention this month. Wear Red for Ed has an active open Facebook page which tracks the Red for Ed movement nationwide. Find out what Save our Schools March is up to by following their open Facebook page. First Focus Campaign for Children has made it clear: the new SNAP rule that the Trump administration approved this month — though it claims to target childless adults — will unduly harm children. Please read their full comment on the rule when it was originally proposed. Kinderchat hosts their popular twitter chat every Monday night at 9 PM EST. The chats are informative and engaging. Check them out on twitter at #Kinderchat. Instituto Nueva Escuela supports their communities by hosting activities at various schools in Puerto Rico. This month they hosted an astronomy activity at the school Manuel Elzaburu and Vizcarrondo. The Network for Public Education published Still Asleep at the Wheel this month. The report follows-up on the groundbreaking NPE report Asleep at the Wheel. In Still Asleep at the Wheel, NPE finds that the fraud, mismanagement, and malfeasance in the Charter Schools Grant Program was worse than we thought. To read and share the report go here.
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) shared information about the use of labeling schools failing in Alabama.
Voices for Education hosts a weekly radio show every Saturday called Smart Talk. To listen go here. Arizonans for Charter School Accountability expose what online charters are making in the state of Arizona. Save our Schools Arizona held another successful meeting to prep for the coming year. To view the pictures go here. They also were celebrated for their work at the Phoenix Sun game. View the pictures and that event here. Finally SOS Arizona released a new video about what it means to save our schools and why they do the work they do. Arizona Educators United were one of the coalition partners to confront ALEC and DeVos at a summit this month in Arizona.
California Educators United provides updates on their open Facebook page about what is happening in public education, fair housing, and fair wages. Public Core shares the podcast Between Two Teachers on their twitter feed each week. The Association of RAZA Educators asked their Facebook followers to come support the 50th Chicano Moratorium Anniversary Commemoration.
Pueblo Education Coalition members engaged with the community at the Lucero Library food pantry this month to talk about the schools students deserve.
Children Are More Than Test Scores has vibrant discussions on their public Facebook page about testing and its impact on children. You can check it out here. Re:public Ed informs Connecticut residents about 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 is organizing a Rally in Tally. If you live in Florida make sure you sign on to attend and support public education. To follow all that is going on in Broward County give Broward BATs a follow on their open Facebook page. Florida BATs open Facebook page has a wide array of events, activities, and information about what is happening with education in the state. Opt Out Florida Network encourages parents to continue to stand up against the testing of young children. Pastors for Florida Children held a luncheon in late November. View some pictures from that event here and here. To learn more about the work of the Florida Council of Churches please visit their website. If you are a member of the Pinella community the Pinellas Parents Advocating for School Improvements organize in a closed facebook group. Join the closed group to connect and organize. Protect Our Public Schools, Manasota encouraged their followers on Facebook to attend a rally this month to support community partnership schools.
Public Education Matters Georgia is excited to be part of the network created by the Partnership for the Future of Learning, and to have the opportunity to join in this year’s Network Assembly. They reported that they are learning from colleagues around the country, focusing on the Partnership’s three priorities in supporting public education: Continuing to advance Community Schools strategies; Supporting teacher workforce-development strategies; and Advancing resource equity and advocacy for the renovated public education system we need. Moms and Dads Now Enduring Surrealistic Stupidity (MADNESS) Georgia published a series of essays on their Facebook page geared towards future teachers.
Parents for Public Schools Hawaii hosted a book fair at Barnes and Noble this month.
Illinois Raise Your Hand will be holding a local school council summit on January 25th. Illinois Families for Public Schools are sharing information in the coming months on the lawsuit initiated by Chicago Public School families against the College Board for selling student data. They helped parents file complaints with their Attorney General’s office this summer and coordinated a letter from nine state legislators to their AG asking him to investigate the College Board’s business practices. This all led to the class action lawsuit. The lawsuit does not just involve Illinois students but students from 33 other states. IFPS would like to acknowledge that the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy has been key in assisting them with this work.
Indiana Coalition for Public Schools – Monroe County holds frequent education events. To keep up with their event calendar go here. Indiana Coalition for Public Education educated the public about the new education PAC in Indiana. ICPE board member, Dountonia S. Batts was quoted in an article in the IndyStar about Paramount Charter School. The Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education share their most popular education posts each week. See what Indiana citizens are interested about when it comes to education. Northwest Indiana Coalition for Public Education informed their Facebook followers that $18,051,564 in federal grants were awarded to Indiana charter schools that either never opened or shut down.
Iowans for Public Education exposed the false narrative that “Student Tuition Organizations” use that say tuition tax credits for donors helps low-income students attend private religious schools.
Last month Game On for Kansas Schools encouraged all their team members to read an article on funding for Kansas schools.
Dear JCPS is asking for feedback on a DRAFT Manifesto entitled “Educational Justice with E’s.” Their goal is to define a comprehensive list of demands their students, teachers and families will need in order to achieve educational justice in JCPS. They plan to work from this centralized document in the coming year. Kentucky SOS is happy to see that the newly elected Governor Beshear is keeping his promises! To read about that go here. Kentucky SOS member Tiffany Benningfield Dunn was a guest columnist in The Oldham Era. Her article School Choice Column Was Misleading, Inaccurate is a must read! Pastors for Kentucky Children encouraged members to attend a school forum on education tax credits. We will report on this more in our next newsletter.
The Baltimore Algebra Project is a powerful youth movement in Maryland. To learn more about their work please visit their website.
Citizens for Public Schools will be welcoming NPE President Diane Ravitch in February. For tickets and information go here. The New Bedford Coalition to Save our Schools was excited to see their youth representing the coalition at the NBHS pep rally!
The Michigan Network for Equity in Education shared another excellent article by Kaitlin Popielarz, an educator in Michigan. This article focused on access and equity for all learners! Save Michigan’s Public Schools shared the NPE Report Still Asleep at the Wheel on their Facebook page. Specifically the data that showed Michigan had the largest number of charters that got federal grant money but never opened or opened and closed. Michigan Parents for Schools reported about a lawsuit filed in state court that will examine the constitutionality of public funding for private schools. MI Ed Justice made public an email they sent to parents and teachers about the Indiana strike and the power of standing up.
Parents for Public Schools – Moss Point promotes public schools in their area by engaging, educating and mobilizing parents. They host events throughout the year. To keep up with their event calendar subscribe to the open Facebook page. Parents For Public Schools of Greenwood and Leflore County continues mobilizing parents in Greenwood and Leflore Counties in their fight for public education. Parents For Public Schools of Philadelphia advocate 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.
Missouri BATs has an active twitter feed. To keep up with education movements in the state, give them a follow. Columbia Parents for Public Schools promotes parent engagement to improve education and build public support for public schools in Columbia.
Stand for Schools made public their concern about tax credit scholarships in Nebraska. To read about their fight against tax credit scholarships go here. Nebraska Loves Public Schools will hold screenings of their documentary films in the coming months. Go here to see their event calendar.
Educate Nevada NOW created an informative video last year about funding for Nevada schools. This is a great educational tool for organizing.
Save our Schools NJ reported on a meeting of the New Jersey School Boards Association’s Delegate Assembly last month. It was announced that legislation will be introduced to provide cap relief for districts that are facing Adjustment Aid cuts. The Newark Students Union is a powerful youth led group. Please give them a follow on twitter to keep up with their news and events. The Delran Education Association sponsored a table at the PTO Holiday Craft Fair. This is a great way to connect, and have conversations with others about the fight to save public education. It is also a good way to support the work of PTA/PTO. If you are a resident of Elizabeth, ask to join the Elizabeth Parents and Students Care closed Facebook group to connect. Montclair Cares About Schools is encouraging the Montclair Board of Education to include student representation. Give Our Children Our Schools a follow on twitter to keep up with their movements and events. South Orange-Maplewood Cares About Schools organizes in a closed Facebook group. If you live in this area, or know anyone who does, please ask to join the group here.
Leonie Haimson, Founder and Executive Director of Class Size Matters, published a powerful essay that exposes how Achieve Inc. has misled the NY Board of Regents. Class Size Matters also announced that their class size lawsuit will be argued in the Appellate court on Jan. 13 in Albany! NYSAPE issued an update on their data privacy advocacy efforts in NYS. LI Opt Out was featured in a clip from a national podcast on the history of education reform. NYC Opt Out met with NY City Council Member and Education Chair Mark Treyger about the new city mandated standardized tests being rolled out this year. The Alliance for Quality Education held a meeting this month for their #EdWarriors! Make sure to give Change the Stakes a follow on Facebook to keep up with the test resistance movement in NYC. NY BATs issued a call to action to support the Rochester Teachers Association who are currently fighting a mid-year layoff of over 200 teachers. FUSE (New Rochelle Federation of United School Employees) president Martin Daly was interviewed on WABC 7 News about a teacher who was reassigned and denied their due process rights. MORE-UFT has been very busy this month. They had a successful holiday party and spent a weekend in coalition with Teachers Unite, NYCoRE, and Black Lives Matter in Schools. To view pictures from these events go here. They will also be holding their general meeting on January 18th. Jackson Heights People for Public Schools had one of their members speak at the NYC rally to address inequality in the NYC curriculum. Parents for Public Schools- Syracuse founding member Peter Knoblock had a powerful article published in Syracuse Dot Com about inclusive education. Public School Watchdogs’ membership are public school 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) 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 to stop the 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. Rochester Coalition for Public Education has published an important list of items that they feel will make the Rochester City School District a place that can ensure student success. To read that list go here.
Public Schools First NC and Wake County NCAE have had many events in November and early December. Make sure you check in with their event calendar if you live in North Carolina. Parents for Public Schools of Pitt County partnered with Coldwell Banker Real Estate to sponsor a forum for the community to have a conversation about education. North Carolina Families for School Testing Reform is asking North Carolina public school parents to join them to observe the Istation / mClass contract hearing held by the Department of Information Technology on January 13th. Please check their event calendar for updates and to RSVP. Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods also conducts a variety of events for their community. Please check in with their event calendar on Facebook. Pastors for North Carolina Children provided resources for their members to understand the Leandro Case and the fight to fund NC’s public schools.
Ohio BATs has a strong and active caucus in the Ohio Education Association. The Ohio BAT Caucus had a successful representative assembly with many business items passed and Larry Ellis elected as an NEA Director. Public Education Partners (PEP) is requesting all Ohioans consider joining state, county, city, and school district leaders across the state in officially recognizing January 26 – February 1, 2020 as Public Education Week. For everyone’s convenience, PEP and the Ohio Coalition for Equity & Adequacy of School Funding have provided some suggested proclamation language that can be found in the link above. It Takes A Village To Tackle HB70 published a great graphic on their open Facebook page. There is an OUCH in every VOUCHER. Northwest Ohio Friends of Public Education publishes the latest in education news on their open Facebook page. Make sure to check in with Parents For Public Schools of Greater Cincinnati which post upcoming events on their open Facebook page.
Rev. Frailey, one of the founders of Pastors for Oklahoma Kids, was interviewed on the Phillips Theological Seminary for the Committing Faith in Public Podcast about their work to support a strong public education. Here are the fast facts from the Oklahoma Parent Legislative Action Committee parent survey. Oklahoma Parents and Educators for Public Education & Oklahomans for Public Education conducted a poll for Oklahomans on the A-F rating of their schools. Check out the results here.
The Community Alliance for Public Education (CAPE) published a letter by retired teacher and tutor Mary Bauer that praised and supported local teachers. Oregon Save Our Schools shared a powerful message from one of their followers about the harm of standardized testing. Give the Oregon BATs a follow on twitter to keep up with all that they are doing in their fight for public education.
If you live in Pennsylvania, or know someone who does, The Keystone State Education Coalition Roundup is a must read! Pennsylvania School Board Association presented at the 2019 PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference this month. The Pittsburgh Task Force on the Right to Education is requesting parents of children with a 504 plan, or IEP, who attend a magnet school to contact the LTF Parent Helpline if their child has been put on probation at their magnet school. Education Voters PA has a very active open Facebook page which shares ALL the latest in their fight against charter expansion. One disturbing picture they shared from the Pennsylvania Capital Star was of a recent meeting of the PA Charter Appeals Board (CAB). All of the members were appointed by Tom Corbett, all are serving expired terms, but they typically can’t be bothered to attend meetings in person. The CAB has enormous power to strip control from local communities over charter school expansion. It can overturn decisions made by school boards to deny, revoke or not renew a charter school and stick taxpayers with millions of dollars in charter school tuition payments they cannot afford.
Former Providence Student Union student organizer Aleita Cook became one of the lead plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the state of Rhode Island. In the case, Cook (A.C.) v. Raimondo, students are suing for their right to learn civics. Parents Across Rhode Island share education events happening in the state of Rhode Island on their open Facebook page.
Carol Tempel, co-chairman of the The Quality Education Project Political Action Committee, published an opinion piece about partnerships in Charleston schools. To read her opinion piece go here.
The Momma Bears and Tennesseans Reclaiming Educational Excellence (TREE) shared an update on the investigations of the former Governor over the ESA vote. Pastors for Tennessee Children post updates about what is happening in Tennessee education on their open Facebook page. Give them a like and a share. Tennessee Strong shared a powerful article on the impact of child poverty on education last month. This is an important article to read and share. Tennesseans Reclaiming Educational Excellence (TREE) joined the network this month. We are so excited to have them sign onto the network Check out their work here.
Pastors for Texas Children continues to meet with education leaders to make community connections in their area. Also, Pastors for Texas Children will be holding a Celebration of Public Education on January 14th in Brownwood, Texas. For more information, go here. CFSID Community Leadership Committee is dedicated in their mission to inform the public about charter schools versus public schools. The Coalition for Public Schools Texas represents over 3 million Texans statewide. If you know anyone who lives in Texas, please encourage them to connect with a coalition partner in their area. Texas Kids Can’t Wait is encouraging the community to attend public meetings that are being held for charter applicants. RootEd recommends all parents who are looking for schools to place their children in, to go and visit their neighborhood school. If you know of anyone in the Houston community please have them connect with Parents For Public Schools of Houston. They post important activities for the Houston community on their open Facebook page. Community Voices For Public Education is asking their membership to attend a rally for Houston Public Schools on January 9th. For more information go here. Our Schools San Antonio keeps an events calendar for all their meetings on Facebook. If you live in the San Antonio are, or know someone who does, please share their event calendar so that they can connect. Texas AFT exposed IDEA Charters’ Dec. 6th meeting, in which the IDEA charter Board approved a 96-month lease for a private jet. The monthly cost estimated to be $160,000. $160,000 x 96 months = $15,360,000 denied to children they are charged to educate. Due to the pressure from this exposure, IDEA Charters have withdrawn this expenditure.
Virginia Educators United launched their Fund Our Schools Campaign this month. To learn more go here. Virginia BATs shared this month that Virginia schools still lack funding, teachers, and support staff. Support Our Schools-Shenandoah County organization to help them fight for public education in that region. You can connect here.
Heather DuBois Bourenane executive director of the Wisconsin Public Education Network, Jenni Hofschulte vice president of the Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools, and Julie Underwood president of the Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools were guest columnists in The Cap Times. Their article Stop Playing Politics With Our Children and Make Schools Safe is a must read. Schools and Communities United highlight the many amazing things their community schools are doing for children. One example is Homework Diners! To learn more about Homework Diners go here. Parents for Public Schools Milwaukee have a very active open Facebook page that is updated daily with many events happening in Milwaukee. Go here to keep up with events that support public education and education justice in Milwaukee.
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.