June 30, 2020 7:05 pm

Grassroots Education Network- June 2020 Newsletter

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

Notes from Marla

In states where groups were working on or posting guidelines for reopening, I provided the link. I hope that this serves as a resource for you should you need it regarding reopening schools in your state. Also in this newsletter you will see many powerful statements on the murder of George Floyd and calls for racial justice. Finally, NPE is hard at work tracking charter schools that are taking Payroll Protection Program money from the COVID stimulus relief funds. This money is meant for small business owners to pay their staff and to help them stay afloat. Charters, like public schools, already have a stream of money, and some charters also have wealthy donors who give them money as well.  We hope that you will continue to share the NPE Alert to address this issue with Congress and articles that we share. And let me know if you find a charter school taking PPP in your area. 

National Organizing

The Network for Public Education issued a statement on the murder of George Floyd. Defending the Early Years will be holding their conference on a virtual platform this summer (July 21-24). There will be amazing ECE panelists with a Q & A after each discussion. You can register here. DEY has published a series of videos to help our youngest children, and their families, navigate the COVID crisis. DEY issued a statement this month in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. In the Public Interest shared a series of articles that show charter schools are taking crisis aid meant for small businesses. The Journey for Justice Alliance podcast On The Ground, hosted by Jitu Brown, airs every Monday at 6 PM CST. J4J has also postponed their annual conference. Go here for more information. Journey for Justice held a press conference this month to stand with a family in Chicago that were victims of police brutality. Finally J4J will be  releasing a draft for a Quality of Life Agenda for Black communities on July 4th. Fairtest joined parents and students in suing the College Board for failures on computerized AP exams. Head to their website for updates. 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. Fairtest has published a list of test-optional universities and colleges. Rethinking Schools published valuable resources for police-free schools. The Parent Coalition for Student Privacy blog publishes powerful essays about student privacy.  At the end of last month, Joel Schwarz published an article about the concern that parents in Montgomery County, Maryland have about their children’s privacy on Zoom and Google. Parents for Public Schools National Executive Director Joann Mickens issued a statement about the murder of George Floyd. 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 Schott Foundation held a webinar this month on police-free schools.  Go here for the archived video. 

The Badass Teachers Association (BATs) released a statement in solidarity with Black Lives Matter.  BATs also released their May State Newsletter. 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 stands in solidarity with the International Labour Organization and Global March in their efforts to end child labour. Wear Red for Ed has an active open Facebook page which tracks the Red for Ed movement nationwide. It is also tracking education issues that are surfacing due to the shutdown of our schools. Find out what Save our Schools March is up to by following their open Facebook page. First Focus Campaign for Children released a statement about the George Floyd murder and our need to protect Black, Latinx, and Native American children. Kinderchat continues to host their 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 hosted an adventure to the star universe with astronomer Beatriz Garcia this month.  Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood Board Member Dr. Dipesh Navsaria offers sound advice for getting back to play (or not) as rules around COVID shift. Equal Opportunity Schools released a statement from Byron V. Garrett, CEO, Equal Opportunity Schools on the murder of George Floyd and the current state of affairs. When Public Schools Reopen  May 29th Zoom event “Children, Cherished and Challenged” with Dr. Teresa Thayer Snyder,” is now available here. Their next Zoom event is on Thursday, July 9th at 5:00pm. It will be a Q & A session with Dr. Michael J. Hynes, Superintendent of Port Washington Public Schools on Long Island, New York. He will be discussing his new book, Staying Grounded and answering participants’ questions. A registration link will be announced shortly on their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.

State Organizing 

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) shared the Alabama guidelines for reopening schools. 


Arkansans for World Class Education joined the network in late March.  They are currently working on booting up a website and media.  We will share that in our next newsletter. 


Voices for Education call on Arizona teachers and staff  to formulate district plans for the reopening of schools. Arizonans for Charter School Accountability update their website frequently about charter corruption across the nation and in Arizona. Save our Schools Arizona toured the state this month in a drive to secure more education funding. Arizona Educators United hosted a Town Hall this month on cuts to public education due to the COVID crisis.


California Educators United post events from around the state on their open Facebook page.  This month they shared information about communities eliminating armed police from their schools to communities standing up for education funding. The Public Core program, Between Two Teachers, is very informative. To view all their archived programs go here. Association of RAZA Educators congratulated Santa Ana students, community members, educators, allies, and staff for the passage of an Ethnic Studies graduation requirement. Check in with Bay Area Collective Keeping Privatizers Away from Community Schools (BACKPACS) who exposed charter schools in Santa Clara that are getting PPP loans meant for small businesses. The amounts are shocking. 


Pueblo Education Coalition shared anti-racist resources on their open Facebook page as a resource for their followers. 


Children Are More Than Test Scores continues to share readings from the Ana Grace Project. 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 sent out an action alert this month for Floridians to email and call their lawmakers and request clear guidance on public school funding issues. Florida BATs shared the Florida Education Association press release on the reopening of Florida schools. Pastors for Florida Children continues to educate the public about how the expansion of vouchers is not good for Florida public schools and taxpayers. Florida Council of Churches released a statement in support of protests that call for the transformation of police, government, and society. Broward BATs organize in a closed/private group on Facebook. If you are a teacher in Broward County, or know someone who is, send them this link to join and connect. Opt Out Florida Network has posted some important articles on their open Facebook page about the state of education during the pandemic in various counties of Florida. Go here for more information.  Pinellas Parents Advocating for School Improvements organizes in 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


Public Education Matters Georgia continues to inform the public on how schools will reopen in Georgia in the fall. 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. 


Parents for Public Schools Hawaii released their family survey results this month. 


Illinois Raise Your Hand held a webinar this month with youth leaders, parents, educators, and stakeholders to discuss their experiences with School Resource Officers (SRO), the current organizing around removing SROs in schools, and why they believe cops should be out of schools. You can listen to that webinar here. Illinois Families for Public Schools and Illinois Raise Your Hand endorsed a petition to remove police from Chicago Schools.   


Indiana Coalition for Public Education board member Dr. Patricia Payne, who is a nationally known expert on race and multicultural education, was a panelist on Indianapolis Public Schools’ webinar titled “Let’s Talk: An Honest Conversation About Race.” Indiana Coalition for Public Schools – Monroe County will be holding some organizational meetings this month and the month of July.  For more information go here. The Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education shared some concerns about school reopening in Indiana in the Fall. Northwest Indiana Coalition for Public Education posted the guidelines for the reopening of public schools in Indiana. You can read them here


Iowans for Public Education have vibrant and informative discussions in their closed Facebook group.  If you live in Iowa, or know someone who does, send them this link to join and connect. 


Judith Deedy of Game On for Kansas Schools joined the Mainstream Coalition for an ongoing series of conversations with community leaders and people who are standing up and speaking out to make a difference. You can view that conversation here


Dear JCPS joined in coalition with #StandWithJCPS as they #StandUpForBlackStudents. They are asking members to sign a pledge. Kentucky SOS stood in solidarity with Jefferson County Public Schools teachers, students, parents, community leaders, taxpayers and stakeholders who Stand With JCPS, Justice for Breonna, and Black JCPS Students Matter. Pastors for Kentucky Children posted a powerful prayer for public schools this month. 


Step Up Louisiana launched their Fair Chance Campaign this month.  To learn more about this campaign go here


The Baltimore Algebra Project launched a survey this month.  What do Baltimore students need during the COVID crisis? If you know any Baltimore students, or you are a Baltimore student, please fill out this survey


Citizens for Public Schools Executive Director Lisa Guisbond was a panelist in an online event this month called Public Schools at a Crossroads: Reclaiming public education.  Public education in Massachusetts is at a crossroads with the Covid-19 crisis shutting down schools, while highlighting and exacerbating drastic racial disparities driven by inequitable funding, high stakes testing, harsh school discipline, and school privatization schemes. What resources are needed for a just recovery in K-12 public education? Where can these resources come from? What will a just recovery in public education look like, one that focuses on the holistic health and wellness needs of students, teachers and families, not standardized testing? We will have the link to this event in our next newsletter. The New Bedford Coalition to Save our Schools released a statement last month on  transformative actions needed in our school system.  To read that statement go here


The Michigan Network for Equity in Education is posting amazing resources on their page for community members to engage in anti-racist forums and virtual town halls. Go here to see all the events they are posting. Save Michigan’s Public Schools informed their Facebook followers about cuts to Michigan’s public education budget. Michigan Parents for Schools post important information for parents in Michigan on their public Facebook page. MI Ed Justice shared an important resource for Michigan families from Dr. David Kirkland and the Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools called Guidance on Culturally Responsive-Sustaining School Reopenings:  Centering Equity to Humanize the Process of Coming Back Together. Trusted Voices ED held a zoom meeting called Looking Beyond the Crisis last month. To view this meeting go here.  


Parents for St. Paul Schools posted that St. Paul Nova Classical Academy received $1.1 million in PPP funds and Great River School received $600,000 in PPP funds. 


Parents for Public Schools – Moss Point continues to provide information for their community on free COVID testing. Parents For Public Schools of Greenwood and Leflore County continue to strengthen public schools by engaging, educating, and mobilizing parents during the COVID crisis.  Make sure to check out their events calendar for upcoming events in the area. 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 have 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 released the following statement this month, regarding dismantling systems of white supremacy and institutionalized racism. Nebraska Loves Public Schools also released a statement this month about the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, James Scurlock, Zachary Bear Heels, and countless others. 


Educate Nevada NOW released a video this month with Fund our Future Nevada and HOPE for Nevada. The video asks the question, “Where did $1.2 billion in taxes meant for teacher raises and student achievement go?”  Watch the video to understand the issues happening in Nevada. 

 New Hampshire

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

New Jersey

Save our Schools NJ shared the NJ Department of Education survey for feedback about remote learning. We will put the results in our next newsletter. 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. Delran Education Association donated $2,500 worth of perishable and non-perishable food from local businesses to Calvary Church to support local families in need. 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 supported Montclair High School students who  organized a Black Lives Matter Unity Walk this month. 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 here. Paterson Education Fund held their 37th Anniversary Jazz Party this month and celebrated their graduating seniors.  

New York

Class Size Matters released a statement this month on police violence against Black Americans. Please visit NYSAPE (New York State Allies for Public Education) updated website. LI Opt Out is leader in the opt out of testing movement on Long Island, NY.  To connect with their organization, ask to join their public Facebook group. NYC Opt Out generated a campaign this month to tell the NYCDOE NO test scores in school admission. To read about this campaign go here. The Alliance for Quality Education released a set of demands to Gov. Cuomo from Black and Brown parents across NYS about education funding. Give Change the Stakes a follow on Facebook to keep up with what is happening in NYC education during the COVID crisis. NY BATs share important developments in NY education on their open Facebook page. Keep up with FUSE (New Rochelle Federation of United School Employees) by checking out their news and views. MORE-UFT holds meetings each month.  Go here for registration and information on how you can attend their monthly meetings. Jackson Heights People for Public Schools held a webinar this month on how NY will fund schools. Parents for Public Schools- Syracuse have been posting important information about special education events in their area.  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. 

North Carolina

Public Schools First NC and Wake County NCAE are sponsoring a NC Superintendent of Public Instruction candidate forum in September.  For more information go here. North Carolina Families for School Testing Reform organize in a closed Facebook group.  If you know anyone who lives in NC who wants to make sure that education is not driven by tests, please share this link to have them connect with NC Families for School Testing Reform. Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods hosted Linda Sutton of Democracy NC, who currently serves as the Regional Organizing Manager for the Central Piedmont area. Democracy NC is a nonpartisan organization that seeks to create a government that truly represents its constituents and the People. Pastors for North Carolina Children held a press conference this month with Communities for the Education of Every Child NC. Pastors for NC Children are proud of the work they (over 30 organizations) have done over the last 9 months to build this coalition to support the Leandro case for a sound basic education for all children in NC, especially children who are impoverished and live in rural areas. To view that press conference go here. Parents for Public Schools of Pitt County had a scheduled Facebook live event with Pitt County Schools this month but it had to be cancelled so that the district could work on their plan for new state guidance. Instead, PPS Pitt County shared ALL of their membership questions with the PIO, and she answered as many as she could in this video. 


Ohio BATs have a closed Facebook group of over 2000 where they organize and share information.  If you know anyone in Ohio who is fighting for public education, teachers, students, or their community public school, send them here to connect. Public Education Partners (PEP) are sharing important information about the fight against vouchers in Ohio. It Takes A Village To Tackle HB70 released a joint statement with It Takes A Village in support of Black and Brown friends, neighbors, community members, and leaders. Northwest Ohio Friends of Public Education shared information on how Ohioans can push back against vouchers. Parents For Public Schools of Greater Cincinnati post upcoming events on their open Facebook page.  It Takes A Village joined the NPE Grassroots Education Network this month. They are the sister group of It Takes A Village to Tackle HB70.  Please check them out on twitter and ask to join their closed Facebook group to connect. 


Pastors for Oklahoma Kids shared a must read article from The Baptist Standard.  Churches and public schools as co-laborers for the common good highlights how the church and schools work together for the good of all society. Read that article here. The Oklahoma Parent Legislative Action Committee statewide Parent Survey showed that parents believe excellent teachers in classrooms are one of the top three ways to achieve a Top 10 school system. Read more survey results here. Oklahoma Parents and Educators for Public Education & Oklahomans for Public Education shared guidance for reopening from the state education department. 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. 


The Community Alliance for Public Education (CAPE) asked their Facebook followers to join local educators for the “Eugene Educators Support Black Lives Matter” march this month. Oregon Save Our Schools stated that they hope all state ODE and school district funds related to annual Smarter Balanced standardized tests will be redirected to COVID-19 safety protocols and to improve learning opportunities for all students. They also shared the state education guidance for reopening schools. 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 founder Lawrence Feinberg had a powerful commentary published in the Pennsylvania Capital Star about cyber charter school funding reform. Pennsylvania School Board Association sat on the  Back to School Taskforce. They released the Pennsylvania School Reopening Insights Report this month. Pittsburgh Task Force on the Right to Education continue to share important resources for Pittsburgh families on their open Facebook page. Education Voters PA are asking community members to please contact Senators Toomey and Casey and tell them that Pennsylvania’s schools need additional federal aid to open safely. The US House passed an additional COVID-19 relief package with funding for public schools (the HEROES Act), but the US Senate has not taken action to support additional aid for public schools. Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools released a Statement in Solidarity with the African-American Community

Rhode Island

The Providence Student Union asked students and the community to join them and other youth organizations this month in a youth led Providence Juneteenth Rally to demand justice and change for the anti-blackness, racism and police brutality faced globally and locally in the Providence community. To keep up with what is happening in Rhode Island give Parents Across Rhode Island Facebook page a follow. 

South Carolina

The Quality Education Project continues to support Student Voice Move School Forward Campaign. To read more about this campaign go here.  The Quality Education Project also holds monthly meetings. Head to their event calendar on their Facebook page for announcements and dates.  


The Momma Bears have a great blog full of information about the fight for public education in Tennessee. Check it out here. Tennesseans Reclaiming Educational Excellence (TREE) asked their followers on Facebook to fight for what Tennessee public school children need. They invited others to tell their story so that lawmakers in D.C. could hear them. Pastors for Tennessee Children Executive Director Amy Frogge participated in a conversation with education historian and NPE President Diane Ravitch this month. They  discussed “The Fight for Better Schools in Tennessee.”  You can listen to this amazing conversation here. Tennessee Strong also has a public Facebook group where they are currently sharing information about the state and how COVID has had an impact on children and communities.  If you know someone who lives in Tennessee, share the link so they can learn.  


Pastors for Texas Children leader Rev. Steve Wells helped minister at the funeral service of George Floyd at the Fountain of Praise Church in Houston. Steve is the senior pastor of the South Main Baptist Church of Houston, and a founding pastor with the PTC mission. He begins by quoting from 1 John, “Perfect love casts out fear,” and then goes on to explain: “Racism is the consummate expression not of perfect love casting out fear, but of perfect fear casting out love. This means overcoming racism will require a love greater and stronger than fear.” Steve offers a challenge to white churches as well.  Click here for the full text of his message. CFISD Community Leadership Committee alerted the public to FRED (Free Remote Educational Delivery).  To read more about FRED go here. The Coalition for Public Schools Texas is composed of religious, child advocacy, and education organizations representing more than 3,000,000 Texans statewide. If you are in Texas share their list of organizations so that people can connect. 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 published their monthly newsletter, The Branch, that highlights all of their events and actions.  To see what they were up to this month read The Branch. 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 supported Texans Asking for Meaningful Student Assessment (TAMSA) who want the state to request a waiver from testing for the 2020-2021 school year. Our Schools San Antonio joined the San Antonio Coalition on School Reopening. They hosted a Town Hall this month and plan to host many more. Parents/caregivers, students, teachers, and staff are part of this coalition to discuss how schools should reopen. Texas AFT invited everyone to stand up this month and support the HEROES Act. 


Virginia Educators United continue to post many events happening around education and racial justice in Virginia. Go here for more information. Virginia BATs shared the state board of education’s statement on racism. 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 are asking their community to take a moment and click here to write to the governor and legislators urging them to not make budget cuts and instead protect services and add funding for schools during the COVID crisis.


Wisconsin Public Education Network exposed lawmakers who did not support federal aid for the state of Wisconsin and public schools. WPEN will also be holding their Summer Summit on July 24th.  Go here for more information. Schools and Communities United held a protest this month against Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Pence and DeVos visited the STEM Academy in Waukesha on Tuesday, June 23, to participate in a school choice roundtable. Schools and Communities United were outraged that a public school would be used to support this agenda. Parents for Public Schools Milwaukee shared the Department of Public Instruction *Education Forward* Plan offering guidance on the return to school for Wisconsin students, staff and educators.

 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.