July 31, 2019 5:14 pm

Grassroots Education Network- July 2019 Newsletter

Published by

The NPE Grassroots Education Network is a network of over 130 grassroots organizations nationwide who have joined together to preserve, promote, improve, and strengthen our public schools. If you know of a group that would like to join this powerful network, please go here to sign up. 

If you have any questions about the NPE Grassroots Education Network please contact Marla Kilfoyle, NPE Grassroots Education Network Liaison at marlakilfoyle@networkforpubliceducation.org

Notes from Marla

I have now been in my position as the NPE Grassroots Education Network liaison for six months. Each time I do this newsletter I become more inspired, and informed about what is happening across the nation to strengthen public education and to save it from privatizers! This month there were some great ideas for organizing and getting the message out. Many of the organizations in the NPE Grassroots Education Network marched in 4th of July parades with signs asking the community to support public education, they walked neighborhoods with pamphlets outlining the power of public education, and they held summer education summits to engage their communities. The organizing ideas in this newsletter are a great way to get the message out, have conversations with people about the promise of public education, as well as the attempt to privatize public education. Again, I am humbled by the amazing work being done for our children, our families, and our communities!

National Organizing

Defending the Early Years held their Early Childhood Summer Organizing Leadership Institute in the beginning of the month. Check out all their amazing pictures on their twitter hashtag #DEYInstitute2019. In the Public Interest presented at Netroots Nation in July. They covered the topic of privatization of public service. The Journey for Justice Alliance went to Washington D.C. on July 10th to speak with U.S. Representatives about the school funding crisis. Also check out the podcast On The Ground hosted by Jitu Brown. The podcast airs every Monday at 6 PM CST.

Fairtest publishes an amazing newsletter each week covering both the flaws of relying on standardized exams to make high-stakes educational decisions as well as successful campaigns to roll back testing misuse and overuse. Rethinking Schools editor and Zinn Education Project teacher leader, Adam Sanchez, presented the Poetry of Defiance lesson on celebrating the resistance of the enslaved at the 2nd annual Teaching Black History conference for K-12 educators. Rethinking Schools also launched their NEW Planning to Change the World social justice plan book. You can order it here. The Parent Coalition for Student Privacy and The Badass Teachers Association distributed their Educator Toolkit for Teacher and Student Privacy at the AFT TEACH Conference in Washington D.C. July 10-13th. Parents for Public Schools National has been selected to present at the Institute for Educational Leadership’s 2019 National Family and Community Engagement Conference in Reno, NV! Their session, ‘Re-Imagining Evaluation: How Parent-Led Evaluation is Getting to What Matters in Parent Leadership’, took place on Wednesday, July 10. They also published Brown v. Board of Education: A Divided Legacy? An Interview w/ former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Fred Banks, Jr. 

Parents Across America shared the response of Parent Power, Indianapolis Parents Across America affiliate, to the election of Teach for America alum and interim superintendent Alessia Johnson as Indianapolis Public School (IPS) superintendent. Congratulations to Breanna Hall who won the The Schott Foundation #PublicSchoolGrad scholarship. The Badass Teachers Association was in Houston July 2-8 to attend the National Education Association Representative Assembly. Check out all the great work the NEA BAT Caucus did for children, families, and communities! The Trinational Coalition to Defend Public Education (USA) exists in a network with many other organizations in Canada and Mexico. Check out their network here. Ontario (Canada) Secondary School Teachers Federation President Harvey Bischof delivered the OSSTF affiliate report to the members of the Canadian Teachers Federation. The report focused on no cuts to education funding and the economic benefits of investing in education. Wear Red for Ed tracks the Red for Ed movement nationwide. Check out their open Facebook page for the latest on the Red for Ed movement. Find out what Save our Schools March is up to by following their open Facebook page. First Focus Campaign for Children continue to share the latest on the fight to end the detention of migrant children. The Network for Public Education continues to update their Asleep at the Wheel Report. See their state-by-state reports here (scroll to the bottom of the page) and make sure you check back for more additions. 

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) is asking Alabama residents to take a poll on a Constitutional Amendment to switch from the present elected state board of education to one appointed by the governor.


Voices for Education Smart Talk Radio: Robin Hiller sat down with Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) Superintendent Gabriel Trujillo. Listen as Superintendent Trujillo talks about his strategy for middle school reform — an important issue for TUSD. Arizonans for Charter School Accountability is dedicated to exposing the waste and corruption in Arizona’s largely unregulated charter school sector and increase public oversight of the industry. Save Our Schools Arizona had a successful fundraiser at the end of June. Party With A Purpose for SOSAZ had the community come out to support public education in Arizona and the work of Save our Schools Arizona. Arizona Educators United is a grassroots movement by people who are concerned about education in Arizona. AEU is not a union and is not aligned with any political party or candidate. Check out their informative video about their organization.


California Educators Rising are now California Educators United. Follow their coalition work in California here. Public Core is an organization of West Contra Costa County parents, teachers, community members, and school staff who fight for public control and accountability in our schools. They believe that public schools, open to all, are essential to the health of a democratic society.


Pueblo Education Coalition will be holding a forum on August 6th to discuss the Community Schools model. Find out how this concept can help communities collaboratively problem solve through the challenges they face in public education today. They encourage everyone and anyone to attend and please bring any questions! Child and translation services can be available if notified in advance.


More Than a Score member Jesse Turner wrote a powerful essay titled What If, Policymakers and Legislators Listened to Teachers? Re:public Ed work with Connecticut communities to inform residents about state, local and federal education policies that harm kids – mobilizing them to effect change. New London Parent Advocates are a group of parents and community members who care about their students’ success and want to improve their schools. They are focused on increasing parent involvement and creating positive change in the New London Public Schools.


Fund Education NOW held a rally in July to demand the Board of Education fund education. The rally was held outside the Board of Education building in Lakeland. Broward BATs twitter feed continues to update the work of State Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran. Corcoran was dubbed a “charter” champion by the National Alliance for Charter Schools. Opt Out Florida Network provide comprehensive opt out resources for the beginning of school. Pastors for Florida Children shared a powerful letter written to the Tampa Times regarding the fact that letter grades for schools are about income not children. The Florida Council of Churches has an active website that documents their concerns, advocacy, and activity. Florida BATs have an open Facebook page that you can follow to keep up with what is happening all over the state. Pinellas Parents Advocating for School Improvements is a parent-driven initiative that is not associated with any one school and is open to all parents. Pinellas Parents Advocating for School Improvements is parents coming together to offer support and solutions to the problems children face in Pinellas County.


Public Education Matters Georgia has a website of great resources and a list of ways that citizens in Georgia can get engaged and connect. Moms and Dads Now Enduring Surrealistic Stupidity (MADNESS) Georgia seeks to build the parent led opt out movement, to defeat the Opportunity School District (OSD), and to build awareness and support for actual school improvement strategies like community schools and more broadly for the very real and meaningful benefits of an equitable and viable public education system that strives for good schools for all children. 


Parents for Public Schools Hawaii published a powerful resource on their website – Envision Hawai‘i Schools: The Department of Education’s Ambitious “2030 Promise Plan.” Parents for Public Schools Hawaii is registering residents to join in strategic planning sessions and workshops. Go to this link for more information. 


Illinois Raise Your Hand joined Blocks Together 1 in July to learn more about best practices in planning for school facilities and programming with national expert on school facility use, Mary Filardo. Here are some resources from that event. 


Indiana Coalition for Public Schools – Monroe County participated in the 4th of July parade with signs that urged community members to support public education. A great idea for organizations to copy next year! Indiana Coalition for Public Education will be holding their annual meeting on August 24th. For more information go hereThe Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education published their most popular links on social media. A great idea for organizing and drawing interest from the public. Northwest Indiana Coalition for Public Education marched in the Hebron 4th of July parade with their signs and asked the community to support public education. They also hosted a Sip Red for Ed event to educate the public about supporting public education and sold amazing yard signs. This is a great organizing idea for the start of school! 


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


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


Gay Adelmann and Tiffany Dunn from Dear JCPS and Kentucky SOS gave powerful quotes about charter scams in the Lexington Herald and Leader. Kentucky SOS research director Ivonne Rovira had a powerful op ed in the Courier-Journal about teacher summer protests in Kentucky. Dear JCPS was featured as one of the small groups in Kentucky pushing for change and moving the needle in this article published in the LEO Weekly! Congratulations Dear JCPS! Pastors for Kentucky Children shared a powerful prayer for a teacher on their Facebook page. Read it and share it out!


The Baltimore Algebra Project is a youth led organization with the goal to ensure that all students have access to quality education. Keep up with their movements by visiting their website. They will host a school supply give-away on August 3rd. See information here.  


Citizens for Public Schools held a leafleting action in July to demand education be funded properly. Another great organizing idea! The New Bedford Coalition to Save our Schools Ricardo Rosa presented at the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE) on Community Based Action in July. 


The Michigan Network for Equity in Education continues to expose the latest in the Benton Harbor state takeover plan. Save Michigan’s Public Schools is a grassroots network of concerned citizens. Their goal is to connect parents, students, educators and communities across Michigan and raise awareness of threats to public education. Michigan Parents for Schools also continues to expose the latest in the Benton Harbor state takeover crisis. Check out this detailed post about the issues that Benton Harbor community members must face. 


Parents for Public Schools – Moss Point keep the Moss Point community up-to-date with all the latest events in their community. In July they shared such events as a Pre-K Color Day, 200 Man Stand, and a Uniform Closet. Parents For Public Schools of Greenwood and Leflore County were at the B.B. King Museum in late June with Nancy Loome, Executive Director of Parents’ Campaign, Jackson, MS. They shared their BLUEPRINT 2019 Top 3 priorities for local/state public schools and how they plan to make change happen. Parents For Public Schools of Philadelphia exists to EDUCATE parents, ENGAGE parents, and MOBILIZE parents in the Philadelphia Public School District. Make sure you give them a follow on Facebook. Parents For Public Schools of Starkville created a powerful pledge to the children and schools of their community. Check it out here


Keep up with the actions of the Missouri BATs on their twitter feed. Columbia Parents for Public Schools promote real parent engagement with educators and the educational system in order to continually improve education and sustain and build public support for public schools. Columbia Parents for Public Schools works with other organizations and community groups, such as the Parent Teacher Associations, to promote, support and strengthen the Columbia Public Schools.


Stand for Schools has an excellent FAQ section on their website. If you know anyone in Nebraska who has a question about school choice, charters, vouchers, or tax credits in the state, send them here. Nebraska Loves Public Schools promoted a summer food program to keep kids healthy and engaged. They also launched an amazing short film, Ready to Work


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

New Jersey

Save our Schools NJ was one of the many organizations that signed onto the Healthy Schools NOW initiative. Make sure that you give The Newark Students Union a follow on Instagram. Keep up with all their actions and movements. Delran Education Association is gearing up for Back to School by sharing deals for students and teachers. Elizabeth Parents And Students Care is an educational advocacy group that provides a platform for stakeholders to address concerns, share ideas, and establish capacity to support needed change in Elizabeth, New Jersey. If you are a resident of Elizabeth join their closed Facebook group to connect. Montclair Cares About Schools alerted all Montclair parents about their chance to voice concerns about the new MHS schedule. Give Our Children Our Schools a follow on twitter to keep up with their movements and actions. South Orange-Maplewood Cares About Schools joined the NPE Grassroots Education Network in July. If you live in the South Orange-Maplewood section of New Jersey please ask to join their closed Facebook group and connect with organizers in your area. 

New York

Class Size Matters Executive Director Leonie Haimson gave powerful comments on the NYC Citizen Budget Commission on alleviating school overcrowding. Class Size Matters was also featured in an article on class size in the Gotham Gazette. The Alliance for Quality Education presented about Just Schools and the development of a culturally responsive curriculum scorecard at the Free Minds, Free People Conference in July. NYSAPE, LI Opt Out, NYC Opt Out, Change the Stakes, and NY BATs issued a press release upon the resignation of their state education commissioner. FUSE (New Rochelle Federation of United School Employees) teachers are heading into a new school year very soon. Give their Presidents News and Views a read. ECE Policy Works’ Creating Citizens for the World video series examines the work of nine early educators and is a must view and share. MORE-UFT has many meetings coming up this summer. They are holding a book read, UFT workshop, and contract training. Jackson Heights People for Public Schools is mobilizing the community to help migrant children and their families. Parents for Public Schools- Syracuse supported the Syracuse School District Summer Parent Book Club in July. Yet another great organizing idea to get parents out and start conversations about all the amazing things our public schools do. Public School Watchdogs is a group of NY parents who came together to oppose the DeVos appointment. Find out what they have been up to on their Facebook page. Croton Advocates for Public Education (CAPE) is a group of residents that wants restoration of funds that were promised to their schools, fair assessments, and enrichment opportunities for every student. Port Washington Advocates for Public Education is a community group dedicated to providing information on education issues that are relevant to the Port Washington community, including the negative impact of high-stakes standardized tests, the Common Core, student data sharing, decreased funding, and other education-related topics. If you live in the Port Washington community please join their closed group to connect and organize. North Country Alliance For Public Education is a dedicated group of parents and citizens who want to bring about positive change in their schools, particularly as it pertains to the over-abundance of high stakes testing and privatization that is taking over schools and harming their most precious resource, CHILDREN! If you live in the North Country of New York consider joining their closed Facebook group to connect and organize.

North Carolina

Public Schools First NC and Great Schools in Wake will be holding a conference, Impact of Privatizing Public Schools: A Crisis in the Making, on October 12th. For details and registration go here. Parents for Public Schools of Pitt County supported United Way of Pitt County in their kick off on July 22nd. North Carolina Families for School Testing Reform invited co-signers to a letter supporting the delay of IStation and continuing to use mClass for the 2019-20 School year. In the News and Observer, Suzanne Miller, organizer of N.C. Families For School Testing Reform, said that “the group appreciates the legislature’s efforts to reduce testing. But she said that any legislative efforts short of a full repeal of the Read To Achieve legislation will have minimal impact on the testing of the state’s youngest students.” North Carolina Families for School Testing Reform also held a press conference on Friday, July 19th to address the use of Istation in Kindergarten to Third Grade. Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods held a Neighborhood Network event on July 25th. We will update this in our next newsletter. 


Ohio BATs, Public Education Partners (PEP) and It Takes A Village To Tackle HB70 conducted a week of action to stop state takeovers. Ohio BATs also took part in a march for migrant children and families at the NEA RA in Houston this month. Public Education Partners (PEP) continues to expose the damage that ECOT has done to the state. PEP was one of many grassroots groups in Ohio that facilitated action plans from June into July to get the school takeover law repealed. Their efforts resulted in a 1-year moratorium on new takeovers, so they will be back next year to fight this awful policy. Northwest Ohio Friends of Public Education provides up-to-date information on what is happening in their region of the state. Take a look at their open Facebook page for the latest news. Parents For Public Schools of Greater Cincinnati believes that parents need to be strong advocates and partners in their child’s education. What they believe is based on research that is concise, consistent and strong: Parent involvement positively impacts student achievement. Where there is parent involvement, kids do better and their schools do better. If you live in the Greater Cincinnati area please join them in working to be a voice for children in public schools. 


Pastors for Oklahoma Kids has up-to-date information on the EPIC Charter Schools fraud investigation. Go to their open Facebook page for all the updates. Oklahoma Parent Legislative Action Committee held their Summer Advocacy Summit on July 27th. We are excited to report the results in our next newsletter! Oklahoma Parents and Educators for Public Education & Oklahomans for Public Education focused last month on childhood trauma and its impact on education.  


The Community Alliance for Public Education (CAPE) latest “Democracy and Education” column in the Eugene Weekly was written by CAPE member, Deanna Belcher. The column is a mother’s honest look at the power of the dominant “competition and standardized test” narrative on her own daughter. Oregon Save our Schools published a powerful essay by co-founder Steve Buel called Input Versus Output. Give it a read and share! Finally, if you know anyone who lives in Oregon make sure you tell them to join up with Oregon BATs on Facebook.


The Keystone State Education Coalition continues to produce informative weekly newsletters about all that is going on in PA education. The Pittsburgh Task Force on the Right to Education is alerting the Pittsburgh community that provisions at the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation are changing due to funding. Susan Spicka, President of Education Voters PA was a guest on Smart Talk WITF in July. She chatted about cyber charter schools. Pennsylvania School Board Association is gearing up for their Leadership Conference in October. To learn more go here

Rhode Island

Providence Student Union members, and recent Providence schools graduates, Aleita Cook and Ahmed Sesay held back laughs as The Daily Show correspondent Jaboukie Young-White wheeled into their interview on a hoverboard. Aleita and Ahmed made their case for guaranteeing education as a constitutional right. Parents Across Rhode Island continues to inform the state about what is happening in a variety of communities on education, organizing, and events. 

South Carolina

The Quality Education Project shares events and actions around public education in South Carolina. Head over to their Facebook page to see the latest events, actions, and news in South Carolina education. 


Make sure that you follow the The Momma Bears on Facebook. They update their feed weekly with the latest in the fight for public education in Tennessee. Pastors for Tennessee Children co-founder Brad Fiscus has decided to run for the House in Tennessee. 


Pastors for Texas Children presented about the power of  public education to doctoral students at Dallas Baptist University about the power of public education. Pastors for Texas Children and 36 organizations dedicated to supporting Texas children and families wrote to state leaders to express “deep concern over the reported treatment of parents and children held in immigration detention facilities on Texas soil.” CFSID Community Leadership Committee updates their open Facebook page about what is happening in and around Houston. If you have a friend or family in the area invite them to follow them on Facebook. The Coalition for Public Schools Texas is a large coalition that represents over 3 million Texans statewide. Take a look at their coalition and encourage anyone you know in Texas to connect with a coalition partner in their area. Texas Kids Can’t Wait updated their community on the 2019 Texas Legislative Session and what happened with pre-K policy and funding at the state Capitol. RootEd joined the network this month. We are so happy to have them. To read about their work check out their website and social media platforms. Parents For Public Schools of Houston co-sponsored a health and wellness fair, job market, and backpack giveaway on July 27th. Another great organizing idea that this network provides. Community Voices For Public Education updates the Houston community, daily, on what is happening in public education and events concerning the Houston Independent School District. 


Virginia Educators United and Virginia BATs have active open Facebook pages with updates daily on what is happening in Virginia. Give them follow if you live, or teach, in Virginia and get connected. Support Our Schools-Shenandoah County started in Augusta County, but it represents a community coming together to show that education is important! Join this coalition if you live in the Shenandoah area and if you think that educating children should be a top priority of federal, state and local lawmakers.

Washington State

In July the WA BATs met with their state Superintendent of Public Instruction. Washington Paramount Duty provides detailed resources on how the state falls short of funding for education. 


Wisconsin Education Network continues to press lawmakers and Gov. Evers to fund education. “Heather DuBois Bourenane of the Wisconsin Public Education Network, which led an 11th-hour march to Madison last month in hopes of securing more funding for schools, acknowledged those improvements. But she called it a status quo budget that leaves schools below their 2009 state funding levels after inflation.” Also the network will be holding their 5th Annual Summer Summit on August 5th. To sign up and for more information go here. Schools and Communities United use their social media platform to inform the community about events such as Head Start enrollment and community cooling spots to beat the heat. Parents for Public Schools Milwaukee shared the amazing achievements of MPS graduates in July. Check it out! #MPSProud

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.