Grassroots Education Network- December 2020 Newsletter
The NPE Grassroots Education Network is a network of 160 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 wants to wish everyone a Happy 2021. As difficult as 2020 was for many, we want to extend our heartfelt appreciation to all of you. This has been a year that we will never forget. We have lost members of our organizing community and have witnessed many of them get sick from COVID. Despite the trauma and hardship, organizations in this network continue to rise up to the challenge and support their communities. Organizations have conducted food drives, protested hospital closures, set up tutoring services for children in need, held social hours online for those who feel isolated, conducted webinars to continue to educate the public about our fight for public education, wrote op-eds, and so much more. As we usher in 2021, I know that we will all continue to figure out inventive ways to help others. Again, it is an honor to work with you and for you.
Network for Public Education and over 65 grassroots organizations led the charge in holding President-elect Biden to his promises on education. The We Need Pro-Public Education Leadership in the Department of Education campaign demands a leader who rejects corporate reforms, high-stakes testing, school privatization, and noted that it is time to rebuild our public schools. Participants were asked to send a letter to the Biden team. To view that action, go here. Congratulations to Defending the Early Years co-director, Dr. Denisha Jones, Esq., who has co-edited the book Black Lives Matter at School, along with Jesse Hagopian and Dr. Brian Jones. They had a successful online book launch this month. You can order the book here. In the Public Interest’s Cashing in on Kids is a newsletter for people fighting to stop the privatization of America’s public schools. To read the latest, go here. The Journey for Justice Alliance and The Schott Foundation led a coalition this month to call on President-elect Biden to pick a Secretary of Education committed to education justice. To read their letter, and see their candidates, go here. Fairtest led the charge this month with allies endorse the “National Call to Suspend High-Stakes Testing in Spring 2021.” We hope everyone will sign the petition, share with others who will sign, and recruit any organizations to sign on. Rethinking Schools asked a group of teachers and students to write about their experiences of the Black Lives Matter protests after the murder of George Floyd and during the uprisings for racial justice. Rethinking Schools asked if there was one experience, one story that stood out, what they were learning, and how it was affecting their teaching. Here’s how they responded. The Parent Coalition for Student Privacy signed onto a petition with nearly two dozen groups to urge President-elect Biden to continue with cabinet picks that have NO significant ties to the tech industry. Parents for Public Schools conduct strong and powerful parent engagement programs. Go to their website for more information. Parents Across America provides position papers and key documents on their website. It is a great list to keep handy for advocacy work in your area.
The Badass Teachers Association (BATs) publishes their BAT Awards each month. Last month had a line up of BATs who won office in November. 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 shared a report by Education International that lays out a clear overview of the problems and opportunities education workers are facing as a result of the increasing use of technology in education. Find out more in this recent OSSTF Update article. Wear Red for Ed has an active open Facebook page that tracks the Red for Ed movement nationwide. It is also tracking education issues that are surfacing due to the shutdown of our schools. Be sure to check out the Uniting to Save Our Schools (USOS) event tab on their website. This month they held a Zoom meeting on what it means to return safely to school. First Focus Campaign for Children teamed up late last month with the amazing team at MomsRising, who are working to mobilize over one million members nationwide to take action and protect children’s health. Here is the live stream of a brief webinar focused on ways that all of us can speak up to protect more than 10 million kids’ health coverage. The session featured stories from families impacted by CHIP and the ACA and provided tangible things that all of us can do right now — before it’s too late. Kinderchat continues to host its popular Twitter chat every Monday night at 9 PM EST. The chats are informative and provide great resources for teaching kindergartners during school closures. Check them out on Twitter at #Kinderchat. Kinderchat also has a fantastic website full of resources. Instituto Nueva Escuela put out a call to yoga instructors and human conduct specialists for a recap of the work they do with art therapy. Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood held an online discussion this month about The Social Dilemma! Equal Opportunity Schools focuses on closing the equity gap together. Check out this great video that highlights their work. When Public Schools Reopen is hosting a Study Group in January for the book Black Lives Matter at School edited by Denisha Jones and Jesse Hagopian. If you are interested in joining, email them at email@example.com. Uniting for Children and Youth (Canada) had a successful child-friendly conference last month and invited all participants to keep the conversation going. National Educators United hosted a Fossil Free California Town Hall this month. NEU explored the urgency of the climate crisis and presented arguments that support divestment from fossil fuels as financially prudent and as a powerful tool to accelerate the transition to a carbon-neutral economy.
Please use this clearinghouse to encourage people to join organizations in their state and support their work! Call on family, friends, and colleagues to join the fight to save public education. The state organizing section is also a place to get great ideas for organizing and actions.
SOS (Support our Students) are supporting Little Free Libraries around Birmingham.
Voices for Education is an independent, community based organization in Tucson, AZ. They mobilize ideas, leadership, and funding necessary to ensure a first-rate education for every child, in every Arizona public school. To keep up with their movements go here. Arizonans for Charter School Accountability update their website frequently about charter corruption across the nation and in Arizona. Save our Schools Arizona hosted their last episode of Education Talk by recapping elections and their impact on education. Here is the episode in Spanish. Arizona Educators United joined together with some of America’s largest teachers union locals and most prominent educator-led organizations and sent a letter to President-elect Joseph Biden. The letter called for an educator committed to families, communities and the well-being of Black and Brown students to be appointed to the role of education secretary in the new Biden-Harris administration. To read the letter go here.
California Educators United shares how labor is rising up to meet the challenges we face in our communities and schools. Check out all the news on their open Facebook page. The Public Core program, Between Two Teachers, is informative. To view all their archived programs, go here. If you live in the Los Angeles area, or know anyone who does, encourage them to connect with The Association of RAZA Educators. They hold organizing meetings each month. Check out Bay Area Collective Keeping Privatizers Away from Community Schools (BACKPACS) on Facebook to keep up with all their movements in fighting back the charter lobby in the Bay Area.
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.
Connecticut Public Schools Advocates joined the network this month. Give them a follow on Facebook to keep up with their movements. Children Are More Than Test Scores share, and discuss, information about testing in a public Facebook group of 3500 members. Head over there and join the conversation. 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.
Please go to Facebook and follow Fund Education NOW, Florida BATs, and Broward BATs to keep up with all that is happening in Florida education. Be sure to give Pastors for Florida Children a follow on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with all their actions and movements. Make sure to check in with the Florida Council of Churches Facebook event tab. They support, promote, and conduct powerful events in the state of Florida. Opt-Out Florida Network continues to fight the use of tests to rank and sort children, and schools. 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 joined the network this month. To learn more about them visit their website here. Also give them a follow in Facebook and Twitter. United for Florida Children joined the network this month. To learn more about them visit their website and follow them on Facebook.
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 published an op-ed in the Star Advertiser this month. PPS Hawaii notes that the state must invest in our keiki by protecting schools’ capability to deliver the quality of instruction they need.
Illinois Raise Your Hand congratulated the newly elected Local School Council members and thanked those who sacrificed themselves to run. Illinois Raise Your Hand also held a webinar to unpack the elections and share next steps this month. Illinois Families for Public Schools launched a new resource for families, educators and policymakers navigating tech use in remote learning this month. Tech is indispensable for remote learning, but raises many issues for student privacy and equitable access to learning.
The Indiana Coalition for Public Education launched a new podcast this month called Schools IN. Check out the first-ever episode of School’s IN, host Jen Richler talks to Templeton principal Becky Mungle and Templeton speech-language pathologist and parent Lesli Whitney about what makes their school great. Indiana Coalition for Public Schools – Monroe County noted that accountability does not start and end at the classroom door. We cannot forget who is responsible for providing a fully funded public education to ensure that the future of Indiana is properly educated: Our elected legislators. Read more about what Stu Bloom wrote here about funding our schools. The Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education highlights their most popular Facebook posts for the week. This is a great tool to use to see what issues are important to the public regarding public education. If you know anyone in Northwest Indiana, have them connect with Northwest Indiana Coalition for Public Education by sending them a message on Facebook. They hold monthly organizing meetings and so much for the children, and public schools, of NW Indiana. Washington Township Parent Council Network joined the network this month. To learn more about their work go here. Please give them a follow on Facebook and Twitter.
Game On for Kansas Schools shares information related to public education and public education funding advocacy in Kansas and encourages parents and other concerned community members to “get in the game”. To connect with them go here.
Dear JCPS continues to monitor the JCPS Student Assignment Plan. Here Dear JCPS captured most of the JCPS work session regarding the proposed changes to the Student Assignment Plan. Dear JCPS also collected winter coats this month. Kentucky SOS and Dear JCPS published an election recap last month. Pastors for Kentucky Children shared a fantastic article late last month. Teachers Need Your Support Now More Than Ever is a must read and share.
Step Up Louisiana held a rally at Sen. John Kennedy’s office this month to push the Senate to pass something for unemployment this year. They asked people to bring your bills.
The Baltimore Algebra Project signed onto a petition with the Baltimore Movement of Rank and File Educators for Police Free Schools.
Citizens for Public Schools continue their advocacy for cancelling the MCAS. Please head over to their open Facebook page to read up on all the activity happening to push the legislature to cancel the MCAS. The New Bedford Coalition to Save our Schools holds organizational and steering committee meetings each month. Be sure to check in with their event tab for more information.
The Michigan Network for Equity in Education supported the Teachers for Good Trouble petition to end standardized testing. Save Michigan’s Public Schools uses their open Facebook page to inform the public about what is happening with COVID and school closures. Late last month they shared that The Wayne County Department of Health, Human, and Veterans Services recommended all school districts – public, non-public, and boarding schools in its jurisdiction – temporarily shift to an all-remote learning model for all grade levels through January 15, 2020. Michigan Parents for Schools has an extensive website to help Michigan parents and educators. Be sure to check it out here. MI Ed Justice posts important events on their open Facebook page. To keep up with all that is happening in Michigan education check in with them on a weekly basis. Give Trusted Voices ED a follow on Twitter to keep up with their events and issues.
Parents for St. Paul Schools were interviewed late last month for an article in the Star Tribune about online schools. Minnesota Collective for Educational Equity continues to demand that Gov. Tim Walz drop the discrepancy. MCEE noted that the 2004 reissue of legislation required states to allow the use of RTI to identify students with learning disabilities, and yet that is not happening in Minnesota. To learn more go here.
Parents for Public Schools – Moss Point continues to support their community with information about storm resources, education, meals, and much more. Parents For Public Schools of Greenwood and Leflore County are still hosting Early Childhood Development programs for their community. They have been doing this since March. For more information on their programs, go here. 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.
Stand for Schools exposed this back in October, but it is important for all organizations to note. The American Federation For Children, an organization founded and largely funded by Betsy DeVos, attempted to directly influence Nebraska elections. Nebraska Loves Public Schools released the second film in their Covid series focused on the students and staff at Umóⁿhoⁿ Nation Public School.
Educate Nevada NOW supported Opportunity 180 and Nevadans for the Common Good who are inviting families to tell them about their experience with the internet, if you have connection problems and how this affects your children’s education.
Save our Schools NJ are asking community members to seize an opportunity to provide better options for NJ students by supporting a suspension of high stakes student testing. Be sure to check out the The Newark Students Union events tab on their Facebook page. They post events that students can take part in to have their voices heard. 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. Montclair Cares About Schools uses its open Facebook page to inform the community about school openings and the COVID crisis. 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 ask to join the group here. Paterson Education Fund works hard to keep the community informed about Board of Education meetings and food distributions. Go here for more information and share it with anyone you know who lives in Paterson.
Class Size Matters Executive Director Leonie Haimson was a panel member on the launch event for a series of chats with experts, educators, education and parent advocates, and leaders about REIMAGINING our city schools, hosted by the Teachers of New York City community cohort. New York Allies for Public Education called for the incoming Biden administration to nominate Dr. Betty Rosa for Secretary of Education. Parent Coalition for Student Privacy joined leading privacy and civil rights advocates in asking the next U.S. administration to make protecting digital privacy a top priority. LI Opt-Out, the national leader in the Opt-Out movement, has geared up for opting out of standardized testing this year. Since DeVos won’t waive assessments this year, parents will. See their campaign here. NYC Opt Out is asking all NYC community members to please take just a minute to send an email to say NO! to using state test scores (and other “screens”) for the current middle school and high school admissions season. The Alliance for Quality Education held a demonstration this month in NYC at Columbus Circle. The demonstration was centered around “No bread for the poor, no peace for the rich!” Give Change the Stakes a follow on Facebook to keep up with what is happening in NYC education during the COVID crisis. Be sure to check out the NY BATs open Facebook page. They post upcoming events and actions. Keep up with FUSE (New Rochelle Federation of United School Employees) by checking out their news and views. MORE-UFT hosted a study group on “Rebel Rank and File: Labor Militancy and Revolt from Below During the Long 1970’s” this month. Be sure to check into their event calendar frequently for upcoming events. Jackson Heights People for Public Schools shared the results of the NYC Spec Ed Teacher Shortage. 1,167 parents told their stories and the report shows the utter damage being done to the most vulnerable kids in NYC. Parents for Public Schools- Syracuse are sharing Life Fantastic blog radio and addressing topics that impact families and their children. 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. Visit the Rochester Coalition for Public Education website for all that is happening with Rochester education.
Public Schools First NC and Wake County held a webinar about the Leandro requirements and ways you can be an effective public education advocate. North Carolina Families for School Testing Reform held a virtual forum this month to hear from parents, students, and educators regarding mandatory in-person standardized exams during the pandemic surge. Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods hosted an Organizers’ Circle this month with Mr. Tommy Hicks, Community Engagement Coordinator with Truliant FCU, as well as Duane Davis, Financial Advisor with Truliant FCU. Mr. Hicks shared his knowledge on community banking (not specifically just with Truliant!) and Mr. Hicks shared his expertise on investing. Pastors for North Carolina Children shared a valuable presentation by their allies in NC Communities for the Education of Every Child NC. The presentation discussed education in NC during the pandemic and the history behind the problems along with some solution ideas going forward. Parents for Public Schools of Pitt County created a fabulous Facebook post with affirmations for teachers! The poste asked community members to state the name of a teacher, the name of the school, and one thing you’ve been grateful for from that teacher this week
Ohio BATs announced that the Ohio Education Association (OEA) BAT Caucus has a new website! If you are a BAT and a member of OEA, check it out! It Takes A Village To Tackle HB70 announced with deep regret, and great gratitude, that Diane Xander is leaving as a Commissioner on the Lorain Academic Distress Commission. To read more about this go here. It Takes A Village tweets important community information on their twitter feed. Everything from a COVID dashboard to where to get free meals are published daily for the Lorain community. Northwest Ohio Friends of Public Education continue to share information about the fight for school funding in Ohio. Public Education Partners (PEP) did a great job this month of exposing the Fordham Institute. Parents For Public Schools of Greater Cincinnati post upcoming events on their open Facebook page.
The Oklahoma Parent Legislative Action Committee, Pastors for Oklahoma Children, Oklahoma Parents and Educators for Public Education, Oklahomans for Public Education and many of their allies showed that advocacy matters this month. Their coalition sent more than 1,200 emails to the Governor sharing their concern over his nominee to the State Board of Education. The nominee ended up withdrawing from consideration but it’s important that Gov. Stitt understands that the public outcry against the nomination was from bipartisan, grassroots, parent volunteers. Here’s their statement in response. 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 the state of Oklahoma, so they can 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. CAPE is short for the Community Alliance for Public Education. Their goals are to raise awareness and build community around public education issues, as well as support an informed citizenry in having input into public education policies and practices. If you know anyone in their region of Oregon send them here to connect. Check out Oregon Save Our Schools on Facebook for all the latest in Oregon education. 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 this month’s episode of Video EDition Remote, Moshannon Valley School District instructional coach Ashley Nunley talks with CEO Nathan Mains about the initiatives and their benefits, funding, and technological challenges during the pandemic. Watch here. The Pittsburgh Task Force on the Right to Education hosted a webinar this month to help improve special education in Pittsburgh Public Schools. The webinar allowed people to participate in small group discussions and share their ideas and concerns. Be sure to check out their event tab on Facebook for upcoming events. Education Voters PA held a webinar this month about how taxpayers each year subsidize PA’s horse racing industry to the tune of $200 million. Ed Voters and Horseracing Wrongs hosted a webinar about PA’s horse racing industry and the cruelty and violence that undergird it. There are better uses for more than $200 million/yr in taxpayer money than subsidizing cruelty and providing cash prizes to wealthy horse owners. Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools sent a letter to Mayor Kenny on behalf of the members of the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools and the member organizations of the Our City, Our Schools Coalition. They wrote the letter to request that the community no longer be shut out of the selection process for the three current Board of Education vacancies.
The Providence Student Union reflected on the life of one of our greatest supporters, Ken Fish. Ken was around since the beginning of PSU and served as a mentor to the founding team. PSU wanted to share their greatest appreciation for his support and love throughout the years. Ken was a fierce social justice advocate and played a huge role in working for the vision that PSU strives to achieve. PSU sent his family and friends their sincerest condolences, warm thoughts and support. Here’s Ken at one of their early protests (bottom left), in January 2013. Here is the December newsletter for PSU. To keep up with what is happening in Rhode Island, give the Parents Across Rhode Island Facebook page a follow.
The Quality Education Project is a fantastic group doing great work in South Carolina. If you know anyone in South Carolina please share this information about their monthly meetings so they can connect.
The Momma Bears have a great blog full of information about the fight for public education in Tennessee. Check it out here. Make sure to give Tennesseans Reclaiming Educational Excellence (TREE) a follow on Twitter to keep up with all that is going on in Tennessee education. Make sure you visit the Pastors for Tennessee Children website for great resources on how to support public education, and fight vouchers, in Tennessee. Tennessee Strong published a powerful letter by Metro Nashville Education Association President Amanda Kail. In the letter Amanda discusses why teachers are advocating for safe working conditions.
Pastors for Texas Children released a statement this month on why the STARR exam should be cancelled. CFISD Community Leadership Committee is a volunteer group of parents, business people, and retirees who believe that having a strong independent school district is important to the economic well-being of the Cypress-Fairbanks community. To keep up with their actions and events, visit their website. The Coalition for Public Schools Texas published their latest news and archives of their powerful webinars here. 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 movements go to their open Facebook page. RootEd publishes a monthly newsletter called The Branch. Go here to view their newsletter from last month. 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 has an open discussion page on Facebook. To keep up with all that is happening in Texas public education, go here to join in the discussion. Keep up with Our Schools San Antonio on their open Facebook page. The Coalition for Equity in Public Education exposed that a win for Dustin Marshall and Ed Reform is a loss for public education. To learn why go here. Texas AFT launched a campaign this month highlighting that school employees are front-line workers, and they deserve the protections of front-line workers. Texas AFT is asking community members to send a letter to members of the state’s COVID-19 allocation panel and tell them to prioritize school staff for vaccine access.
The Vermont Coalition for Equity in Education have published their Decolonizing the Classroom videos online. Go here to view all the videos.
Virginia Educators United conducted a webinar last month on Virginia’s COVID OSHA rules. Virginia BATs took part in a rally late last month to protect students and teachers from unsafe school openings. Support Our Schools-Shenandoah County organizes to fight for public education in that region. You can connect here. To learn more about the Virginia Public Education Partners shared that there would be a new Virginia law that would seek to close the school-to-prison pipeline
WA BATs has an active Twitter feed full of powerful graphics. Check it out here. Washington Paramount Duty tweeted that when the Washington legislature reconvenes next month they need to add billions more in money to support students and teachers as they work to recover from months of lost learning and social/emotional trauma. We can’t just flip a switch and assume we can return to normal.
Wisconsin Public Education Network is now publishing a bi-weekly Action Newsletter. If you know of anyone in Wisconsin, please share it with them. You can click to read news & current events. Schools and Communities United shared that the Wisconsin Fiscal Bureau memo shows that the GOP “relief” bill will deeply damage public schools. Parents for Public Schools Milwaukee are asking community members to please take the time to complete the MPS survey on virtual learning and returning to school.
NPE Grassroots Education Network – Resources and Graphics
The NPE Grassroots Education Network has compiled a list of resources to help communities navigate the COVID pandemic. We created a list of c3 organizations you can donate to help others in need. We have created a space for resources to help educators and parents trying to navigate remote learning. Finally, we are collecting stories highlighting how Public Schools are helping their communities.
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.