February 29, 2020 1:57 pm

Grassroots Education Network- February 2020 Newsletter

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The NPE Grassroots Education Network is a network of over 140 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 marlakilfoyle@networkforpubliceducation.org

Notes from Marla

Notes from Marla

NPE became a proud partner in Screen Free Week, which will be held in May.  Please take a look at this information and consider becoming a partner in Screen Free Week.

NPE President Diane Ravtich launched her new book in January.  Slaying Goliath is a tribute to the work we all do every single day!  To purchase her book and see her tour dates/places go here

The NPE Action National Conference is next month. Registration is still open but please remember that seats are limited this year to 425, so DO NOT delay your registration. Go here to register and book your hotel. There are no hotels left for Saturday, so please go to the booking site to book your hotel for Saturday.  

Our March newsletter will be a round-up of the conference and all the amazing work that will be done in Philadelphia in March! 

National Organizing

The Network for Public Education is asking for everyone to continue making calls and sending emails to the House Appropriations Subcommittee. In the next several weeks they will be making decisions on education funding.  We are asking for a moratorium on funding of the Charter Schools Program and for this money to be pushed to the states where it can be monitored better. Here is the information for calling.  Here is the link to continue emailing.

Defending the Early Years is now calling on people to attend their Summer Institute in Washington, D.C.  They have an early bird special going on until March. For more information, and to register, go here. In the Public Interest continues to publish powerful articles on the impact of public education privatization. Jeremy Mohler wrote National School Choice Week is actually about promoting certain choices over others last month. It 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. J4J is also getting ready for their annual conference in May. For information and registration go here. Fairtest publishes a newsletter each week about the misuses and flaws of standardized testing. They are a valuable resource and clearinghouse for everything testing and test reform. Rethinking Schools editors have created Black Lives Matter at School: From the Week of Action to Year-Round Anti-Racist Pedagogy and Protest. To access this work go here. The Parent Coalition for Student Privacy is asking organizations, community members, and citizens to contact their state Attorney Generals and urge them to investigate the selling of student data by the College Board.  Parents for Public Schools National Board Chair, Kathy Herring, talks about the importance of the work that PPS National does across the country. Give it a listen. Parents Across America Roanoke Valley leader, Laura Bowman, shared the following email with Virginia Delegates who are considering a bill on best practices for digital device use in public schools. Parents Across America feels that as the use of digital devices in schools continues to grow at unprecedented rates, it’s vitally important that the parent voice is heard when it comes to the healthy and safe use of these devices by children. Schott Foundation published their 2019 Education Justice Victories That Give Us Courage for 2020.

The Badass Teachers Association (BATs) are supporting and promoting a new film out called Parent-Teacher. They did a live stream interview on Facebook with the producer of the film. To see that interview and promotion go here. Trinational Coalition to Defend Public Education (USA) reported that over 50 teachers, parents, and students were arrested and beaten in Mexico for demanding additional funding for their schools. Two teachers are currently missing. The Ontario (Canada) Secondary School Teachers Federation continues to provide facts to the public about what is eroding the quality of publicly-funded education in their province. 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 joined a broad coalition of nonprofit and faith-based groups from across the nation in declaring that no child in the world’s wealthiest nation should go to bed hungry or be deprived of clean air or be without a safe, affordable place to call home. Check out a few highlights from their work this month. 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 wants to hear from students and their families who have graduated from Montessori Public Schools. Estudiante y/o egresado de escuelas públicas Montessori, queremos saber de ti! Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is requesting communities say NO to online preschool.  To see that campaign go here  CCFC is also leading the movement for Screen Free Week which will be held in May. 

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) reported on Woodland Pre’s charter application here.  


Voices for Education hosted Prof. Julian Vasquez Heilig for a discussion on inequity, charter schools, privatization, and Teach for America. Arizonans for Charter School Accountability reported on the big lie about Arizona charter school achievement. Save our Schools Arizona are busy fighting out of state vouchers. See the latest on that issue here. Arizona Educators United continue to fight for increased funding. Listen to this podcast to get an idea of what they are fighting for


California Educators United document teacher action in the state of California on their open Facebook page. Public Core shares the podcast Between Two Teachers on their twitter feed each week and updates their website with all the latest in California education. The Association of RAZA Educators worked with educators from the Santa Barbara Ethnic Studies group this month. View the video that highlights this event.  Welcome to Bay Area Collective Keeping Privatizers Away from Community Schools (BACKPACS), who joined the network this month.  To learn more about their work go to the website and Facebook page. 


 Pueblo Education Coalition hosted a meeting at the end of January and early February with the Risley community. They heard from several students, families and community members about concerns with their school as well as steps forward in addressing them. 


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 conducted an action alert this month and called for native language assessments for English Language Learners. Co-founder Kathleen Oropeza had a powerful commentary published in the Orlando Sentinel titled Voucher program is state-sanctioned discrimination. Broward BATs and Florida BATs provided up-to-date information on the latest with the fight to end public tax dollars going to private schools that discriminate against LGBTQ parents and students. Opt Out Florida Network is beginning their opt out of testing campaign and getting ready for testing season. Pastors for Florida Children attended the rally in Tallahassee in January. Here are some of their great pictures! Florida Council of Churches made a brief statement regarding refugee resettlement this month. To read it go here. 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 also had members attend the rally in Tallahassee.  Check out the great signs they made. 


Public Education Matters Georgia was very busy last month attending Community Schools events. Go here and here for pictures, and information about these events. Moms and Dads Now Enduring Surrealistic Stupidity (MADNESS) Georgia continues to support the community schools movement on their open Facebook page.  Check out all the information they share about community schools in Georgia. Opt Out Georgia joined the network this month.  We are very excited to have another group join from Georgia. They organize in a private group of over 8,000 on Facebook.  If you live in Georgia, or know someone who does, have them join and connect. 


Parents for Public Schools Hawaii are asking their members to take part in a Hawaii Department of Education annual survey.  


Illinois Raise Your Hand, along with Chicago United for Equity, launched a petition Should CPS Be Held Accountable to Racial Equity.  Illinois Families for Public Schools is working with Defending the Early Years, Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood and The Alliance for Early Childhood on a campaign to bring play back to Illinois Public Schools. Check it out here


Indiana Coalition for Public Schools – Monroe County has a busy few months coming up!  Check out their event calendar for events and actions in Monroe County. 

Indiana Coalition for Public Education was a proud partner in the successful rally for public education at the statehouse this month. The Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education published their year in review this month. Northwest Indiana Coalition for Public Education hosted Indiana State Superintendent Dr. Jennifer McCormick this month.  We will report on that in our next newsletter.  


Iowans for Public Education shared the Iowa Policy Project’s recent report on how to help Iowa’s low income families. The report recommends, expanding universal preschool programs, increasing state funding for K-12 school, and increasing state funding for post-high school educational opportunities including community college, Regents University funding, and trade school support.


Game On for Kansas Schools submitted testimony in favor of SB271 which would repeal the current sunset of high-density at-risk funding. If the sunset is not repealed, districts that receive that funding will lose $50 million in funding annually.


Dear JCPS and Kentucky SOS initiated a call to action for their members to stop a bill that would arm police in Kentucky’s schools. Pastors for Kentucky Children continues to share important information on the fight against vouchers in Kentucky. 


The Baltimore Algebra Project teamed up with Baltimore Intersection this month in a Student Voice, Student Choice Town Hall.  


Citizens for Public Schools welcomed NPE President Diane Ravitch this month. Check out the great pictures from that event here and here. The New Bedford Coalition to Save our Schools held a meeting in mid-January about the quality of food in their schools.  Check out pictures from that meeting here


The Michigan Network for Equity in Education shared an important article about special education funding in Flint, Michigan with their Facebook followers this month. It is a must read for everyone in Michigan. Save Michigan’s Public Schools are reporting on the latest with the Michigan education budget here. Michigan Parents for Schools shared a series of webinars put on by the Michigan Alliance for Families. The webinars address IEP’s, suspension rates, and much more. Go here for information. MI Ed Justice supported a rally for families fighting against deportation this month. 


Parents for St. Paul Schools joined the network this month. They are our first group from Minnesota and we are so happy to have them!  To learn about their work go here


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 Executive Director, Ann Hunter-Pirtle, had an op-ed in the Journal Star laying out some of the threats to public schools. Nebraska Loves Public Schools has a new film out – The New Library Learning. Discover what happens when traditional library learning transforms into an immersive experience for students at Syracuse Public Schools. 


Educate Nevada NOW shared on their Facebook page, that due to overcrowding, children in one Washoe County school were having to attend class in the boiler room. 

New Hampshire

Barrington Educators Association is the local chapter of the New Hampshire-NEA.  You can view its work here.  To contact them about issues happening in NH, go here

New Jersey

Save our Schools NJ shared two major legal developments related to local public schools, charter schools, segregation, and school facility funding this month. 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 congratulated member Kristin Howe who was named Milbridge Elementary School Teacher of the Year. 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 shared a powerful message when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke at Montclair High School. 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 its closed Facebook group. If you live in this area, or know anyone who does, please ask to join the group herePaterson Education Fund joined the NPE Grassroots Education Network this month. We are so honored to have them. To learn more about their work follow them on Facebook, twitter, and their website

New York

Class Size Matters hosted a rally and gave testimony at hearings for class size in NYC on February 28th. Read an account of the day here. NYSAPE & LI Opt Out co-hosted a successful forum in NYC and were able to inform parents on their right to opt out. NYC Opt Out, Class Size Matters, MORE UFT, and Jackson Heights People for Public Schools are pushing the state to reschedule the middle school math test and support climate change teach-ins instead.The Alliance for Quality Education supported NY students in a rally for funding at the NY Capitol in Albany. Check out the video here. Make sure to give Change the Stakes a follow on Facebook to keep up with the test resistance movement in NYC. Give the NY BATs a follow on their open Facebook page to keep up with their movements. Keep up with FUSE (New Rochelle Federation of United School Employees) by checking out their news and views.  MORE-UFT held their first integration study group this month. We will report on this in our next newsletter.  Jackson Heights People for Public Schools joined other NY groups in calling for NYS to not give the middle school science test on Earth Day. To see a petition for this action go here. Parents for Public Schools- Syracuse has been very busy over the last few months. Please check out their event calendar for important events and actions. 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 are encouraging members of the community to be a part of the superintendents search process. Go here for more information. 

North Carolina

Public Schools First NC and Wake County NCAE was interviewed for an article on the Leandro Case in the News and Observer.  North Carolina Families for School Testing Reform Leadership Team member Amber Leigh wrote a thorough and eye-opening piece on something we’re seeing more of every day–testing our youngest students on screens. Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods are holding organizing circles. If you are in the Winston-Salem area check out their Facebook page for dates. Pastors for North Carolina Children and Parents for Public Schools of Pitt County partnered to co-host an Equity forum with all 7 State Superintendent Candidates in Winston-Salem. To check out the Live stream go here.  


To keep up with the  movement of the Ohio BATs give them a follow on twitter. Public Education Partners (PEP) are inviting all Ohioans to check back with them on their public page concerning the EdChoice issue.  It Takes A Village To Tackle HB70 shows that state failures continually fail the children of our nation and Ohio. 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. 


Pastors for Oklahoma Kids are educating the public by reporting that since 2013 Oklahoma has  given away nearly $35 million in revenue that would have supported public safety, roads, and public education! All with ZERO accountability for outcomes and no transparency.  Oklahoma Parent Legislative Action Committee thanked their state lawmakers for approving HB 1230 which would  improve transparency of the Lindsey Nicole Henry voucher program.  Oklahoma Parents and Educators for Public Education & Oklahomans for Public Education shared that in Tulsa, Epic Charter schools tried to use intimidation against Oklahoma lawmakers.  To read this story go here


The Community Alliance for Public Education (CAPE) posted an excellent letter written by Eugene parent Jessica Simpson about her experience with Kindergarten. Oregon Save Our Schools asked followers of their Facebook page, and the Oregon community, to submit testimony regarding the use of high stakes tests as high school exit exams. 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 events section on their Facebook page has many events that community members can attend to get the latest on the PA Education Budget and access to content experts. The Pittsburgh Task Force on the Right to Education also has many events and activities going on. Please check in with them on the event section of their open Facebook page. Susan Spicka, Executive Director of  Education Voters PA had a powerful guest column published in the Daily Times. The column titled, The facts tell the story on charter school funding exposes the truth about charter school funding and its impact on public schools. Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools joins the NPE Grassroots Education Network this month. We are so happy to have them!  To learn more about their work like them on Facebook and Twitter.  Make sure to visit their website.  

Rhode Island

Providence Student Union members received the New England First Amendment Coalition’s Antonia Orfield Citizenship Award this month. Also, PSU moved their location this month. To see their new location and the news about the move go here. Parents Across Rhode Island share education events happening in the state of Rhode Island on their open Facebook page.

South Carolina

Carol Tempel and Kendall Deas represented The Quality Education Project at a Charleston County School District discussion on legislation for single-member districts. 


The Momma Bears published a powerful blog post called Whose in Your Wallet? Give it a read and learn about the shady business of vouchers in Tennessee. 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 an article on their twitter feed about the fact that Tennessee teachers would not be able to pay their mortgage with the “intended raise” they were promised. Tennesseans Reclaiming Educational Excellence (TREE) informed followers of their open Facebook page about issues that are happening with ClassWallet.  To read more about this issue go here


Congratulations to Rev. Charles Foster Johnson of Pastors for Texas Children who received the Horace Mann League “Outstanding Friend of Education” award this month. Pastors for Texas Children also  continue to have a very successful tour of the state in their Celebration of Public Education forums. CFISD Community Leadership Committee warned their community members that the IDEA charter chain is targeting their community because real estate is cheaper and students are high-performing. They can select which students they want through “lotteries” and “waiting lists” while pocketing big money through real estate deals and using state funds/taxpayer dollars to pay themselves/contracts for services. 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 shared a powerful message from Texas teacher Ashley Mie. RootEd co-sponsored an education forum in District 121 this month. Check out these photos from the event. 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 continue to expose the failure of state takeovers.  Our Schools San Antonio stood in solidarity with the SAISD students demanding to have a say in the decisions that directly impact them. To read more about this issue go here.  Texas AFT held their regional leadership conference this month.  We will report on that in our next newsletter. 


Virginia Educators United and Virginia BATs aren’t letting up until their schools are funded! They are still waiting for the General Assembly to listen. The GA is still in violation of constitutional bare minimums for staffing, offered no staff raises, and did nothing for facilities. Support Our Schools-Shenandoah County organizes to fight for public education in that region. You can connect here.

Washington State

WA BATs has an active twitter feed full of powerful graphics. Check it out here. Washington Paramount Duty defines, on their website, what a basic education looks like. Go here to read it. 


Wisconsin Public Education Network’s grassroots partners around the state have been super busy in 2020 – from giving Mike Pence and Betsy DeVos a strong #GoPublic welcome, to advocating for investments in special education and mental health with the state surplus, to getting ready for the 2020 Census, working on their nonpartisan #VotePublic campaign for spring & fall election, and making sure public education is in focus when the DNC meets in Milwaukee this summer.  Wisconsin’s biggest cities – Milwuakee and Madison – are both going to referendum in 2020. They also put a lot of love into We Love Our Public Schools Week, with districts passing resolutions, a proclamation from the Governor, and tons of energy and inspiration in their toolkit for local action. They appreciate the hard work going into local level action around the state, and are excited to have received a grant to allow them to increase their staff very soon! Schools and Communities United and Parents for Public Schools Milwaukee were part of a broad coalition that stood in front of MPS Central Office to show support for increased funding for MPS students and improving their schools.  

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.