Grassroots Education Network- May 2019 Newsletter
The NPE Grassroots Education Network is a network of over 125 grassroots organizations nationwide that 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 send them this link to sign up.
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
General Announcements from Marla
NPE Action National Conference – Save the Date – March 28-29 in Philadelphia, PA. The window is now open for workshop proposals for the Network for Public Education conference, March 28-29, 2020, in Philadelphia. I hope you all sign on to present on a panel and certainly we want all to attend. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NBCNDKK
Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul put out an amazing music video for their song “Solidarity” featuring NPE President and Co-founder Diane Ravitch. To check out the video that highlights teacher strikes around the world, go here.
Please welcome Pastors for Florida Children, Pittsburgh Task Force on the Right to Education, Florida Council of Churches, and Pastors for Tennessee Children to the NPE Grassroots Education Network!
NPE Grassroots Education Network national organizations are on the move for public education. Defending the Early Years’ Parent Guide, Young Children in the Digital Age, is now available in Spanish! Also don’t forget Defending the Early Years will be having their first Early Childhood Organizing Summer Institute July 7-10 in Washington DC. To register go here. In the Public Interest continues to publish excellent privatization reports. Make sure you check out their weekly report which features the attempts to privatize public education. Go here for their weekly privatization report.
The Journey for Justice Alliance conducted an Equity Bus Tour on May 22nd. Members rode a bus from a well resourced school to an underfunded school in Washington D.C. To view information about this event go here. To view the press conference go here. Don’t forget to tune in on Monday 6 PM CT to their podcast, On The Ground, featuring Jitu Brown. You can download and subscribe to the podcast on I-Tunes, Stitcher, Google Play Music or on Soundcloud. Fairtest Assessment Reform Analyst Lisa Guisbond attended the Massachusetts Fund our Future Rally at the Capitol. To view the video go here. Rethinking Schools launched a new book called Introducing the New Teacher Book. This book helps new teachers find balance in their first years in the classroom. You can check it out here. The Parent Coalition for Student Privacy continues to expose student privacy violations nationwide. This month they published Inordinate Delays into U.S. Department of Education Response to FERPA Complaints Lead to More Blatant Violations of Student Privacy by Eva Moskowitz and Success Academy. To read the article go here. Parents for Public Schools National held a series of Civic Academies to inform and energize citizens in support of public schools. To read more about this work go here. The Schott Foundation held a webinar on May 22nd discussing what every parent needs to know about school funding. Two state experts answered questions about school funding. To view the video go here. The Badass Teachers Association Executive Director Melissa Tomlinson took to the streets in New Jersey to fight cuts to public pensions. To read more about that work go here. Trinational Coalition to Defend Public Education (USA) updates their Facebook page daily with issues that are impacting education in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. To follow these movements check out their open Facebook page.
Ontario (Canada) Secondary School Teachers Federation continues to fight for funding and small class size and against cuts to special education and the requirement that all High School students take 4 online classes. To learn more about their fight in Canada go here. Finally, The Network for Public Education’s report Asleep at the Wheel was cited in the House Appropriations Budget. The DeVos charter schools program budget was slashed by $100,000,000 and the committee demanded reform. See Page 182 here. Also, as a result of the NPE report fourteen members of Congress sent a letter to Sec. DeVos demanding answers on the Charter Schools Program waste of taxpayer dollars.
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 (Save our Schools) hosted a screening of A Backpack Full of Cash with Jitu Brown. Check out the video here. Jitu was also able to visit some students in Birmingham. To view his conversation with the amazing students of Birmingham go here.
Voices for Education hosted a radio show on May 4th with teacher activists Wes Oswald and Gabriella Cazares-Ryan. You can listen to the show here. Arizonans for Charter School Accountability continues to expose the waste and fraud of BASIS Charter schools in Arizona. To keep up with their work go here. Save Our Schools Arizona is fighting voucher expansion. See their powerful position paper on the ESA Voucher Expansion proposal. Save Our Schools Arizona demands Arizona lawmakers fund AZ schools with AZ tax dollars. Arizona Educators United co-founder and lead organizer Rebecca Garelli explains what teachers want on KJZZ Radio – listen here.
California Educators Rising made their voices heard on May 22, 2019, as they joined students and allies for a Day of Action to support students and protect neighborhood public schools. Go here for more information on this event.
Pueblo Education Coalition advocates for community schools and supports important events in the Pueblo community. To view their work and advocacy visit their open Facebook page.
Fund Education NOW, Broward BATs, and Opt Out Florida Network attended an education summit titled Bringing Voices Together – an Education Summit for Florida’s public schools on May 18th. We will have a brief on this important event in our next issue. Pastors for Florida Children also attended the Bringing Voices Together summit. To view their photos go here. Florida Council of Churches joined the network this month! We are honored to have them and to support their work for public education. To learn more about their movements please visit their open Facebook page.
Public Education Matters Georgia were instrumental in defeating vouchers in Georgia this year. To read about how public education advocacy defeated vouchers in Georgia go here.
Parents for Public Schools Hawaii partnered with Kea’au Middle School to provide a presentation on Adolescent Brain Development May 9th. To view the photos from this amazing event go here.
Illinois Raise Your Hand has put out an easy to understand fact sheet about why ISBE (Illinois School Board of Education) has taken over Special Education in Chicago Public Schools. It is written in both English and Spanish. To view this fact sheet go here.
Indiana Coalition for Public Schools – Monroe County partnered with The Community Committee on Educational Equity to present a screening and discussion of one segment of the ten-part series “America to Me,” a documentary which explores diversity and inclusion through the eyes and voices of students. A panel of diverse voices from the Bloomington community discussed their experiences. Indiana Coalition for Public Education came out in full support of teachers in Indiana last month. Go here for more information. The Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education also supported the work of teachers who are fighting for more funding for their schools. Go here for more information. Northwest Indiana Coalition for Public Education continues to expose the loss of control that the public will have over public education with the exit of the last elected superintendent of public instruction. To view that issue go here.
Iowans for Public Education continues to advocate against the use of tax dollars on private schools via School Tuition Organizations (STOs). To read more about this work go here.
Members of Game On for Kansas Schools are continuing their fight for funding. They attended a State Supreme Court oral argument in the Gannon case on May 9th. To view the summary of this fight please go here.
Kentucky SOS is gearing up for testing season and encouraging parents to opt out of testing by reminding parents that tests are the weapons used to privatize public education. To see more go here. Also, Kentucky SOS will begin their summer roadshow by bringing the attempt to privatize public education to kitchen tables, libraries, malls, and community centers. To learn more go here. Dear JCPS initiated an action to not reduce school psychological services for JCPS students. To view that action go here. Pastors for Kentucky Children held a conversation about how to create church school partnerships on April 27th in Covington, Kentucky. This is a great template for how we can get others involved in the fight to stop the privatization of public education. To see more of their amazing work go here.
The Baltimore Algebra Project continues to be one of the great student leadership movements in the country. Check out their youth-led artistry projects.
Citizens for Public Schools and New Bedford Coalition to Save Our Schools attended a rally to increase school funding with their Fund Our Future Campaign on May 16th. For more information you can go here.
The Michigan Network for Equity in Education promotes equity of opportunity and democracy in Michigan’s public schools by building coalitions and sharing information and research. To keep up with their recent movements in Michigan head over to their open Facebook page.
Parents for Public Schools – Moss Point strengthens their public schools by engaging, educating and mobilizing parents to build strong schools and healthier, vital communities to educate children. They understand the partnership that must exist between schools and the communities they serve. To view their amazing partnerships please go here.
Missouri BATs continues to fight off privatization in Missouri. To keep up with their latest movements visit them on twitter @MissouriBATs.
Stand for Schools was at the forefront of a successful campaign to beat back tax credit scholarships. To learn more about their work, visit their open Facebook page. On their open Facebook page Nebraska Loves Public Schools highlights some of the inspirational things happening in public schools in Nebraska and what children are saying about their teachers and schools. Be inspired. They also did an amazing highlight of the school year in pictures. Check it out.
Save our Schools NJ reported very good news for New Jersey students and families. The Education Law Center and the Murphy administration reached agreement that the graduation testing options available for the classes of 2019 and 2020 also should be available for the classes of 2021 and 2022. The Newark Student Union supported and participated in the Lock Arms to Unlock our Kids rally on May 18th. For more information go here. Montclair Cares About Kids provided an informative reminder on their open Facebook page about the upcoming NJSLA testing.
Educate Nevada NOW continues to push for funding for K-12 education in the state of Nevada. They produced an informative flyer to explain the funding issues. This is a great template for others to use. To view this flyer go here.
NYSAPE and LI Opt Out initiated a letter campaign to get NYS to pass an opt out bill. To read more about this campaign go here. Class Size Matters Executive Director Leonie Haimson gave powerful testimony on SHSAT before the Committee on Education and Jointly with the Committee on Civil and Human Rights. To read her testimony go here. Finally, Class Size Matters will be holding their annual Skinny Award Dinner where they will honor NYS Attorney General Tish James and NYC Kids PAC. If you are in NYC on June 19th and want to attend, go here to register. NYSAPE, NYC Opt Out, LI Opt Out, Change the Stakes, and NY BATs are happy to announce a new bill that will ensure school districts notify parents via written communication in Grades three through eight that students may refuse to participate in all state testing or high-stakes testing. FUSE (New Rochelle Federation of United School Employees) chronicle their movements via their News and Views Newsletters. To keep up with what they are doing visit their website. ECE Policy Works traveled to China in May to attend the 1st Annual True Play Conference. To view pictures from their trip please go here. The Alliance for Quality Education (AQE) NY’s and MORE Caucus protested Betsy DeVos in NYC. Check out their protest pictures here. AQE’s Maria Bautista also testified in May before the NYS Education Committee. To see her testimony go here. Jackson Heights People for Public Schools supported the work of Teens Take Charge NYC at their Press Conference which was held on May 17th. Teens Take Charge NYC advocates for NYC public school integration. To view this work go here. Parents for Public Schools- Syracuse co-hosted a Rise Up For Social Action Training Day in April. Check out the template for this amazing action. It is a good one to replicate to train members of the community.
Public Schools First NC hosted an event with their former Governor entitled – In Praise of Public Education: A conversation with Gov. James B. Hunt, Jr. To view that event go here. Parents for Public Schools of Pitt County provided a special workshop to prepare kindergarten parents for school. To learn more go here. North Carolina Families for School Testing Reform continues to be one of the leading voices in North Carolina against using the Education Value-Added Assessment System (EVAAS) and school performance grades as a measure for student and school success. To learn more about their work go here.
Ohio BATs continue their fight for a reduction in state standardized testing in schools to the federal minimum and removing four high school end-of-course exams. They made the news about their fight for students and schools. Public Education Partners hosted a conversation on May 16th between Network for Public Education President and renowned education author and historian, Diane Ravitch, and Ohio’s own William L. Phillis, Executive Director of the Ohio Coalition for Equity & Adequacy of School Funding. To view the video go here. It Takes A Village To Tackle HB70 continue to highlight the failure of state takeovers. On their open Facebook page they shared Jan Resseger’s blog about the issues they are facing. Check it out here.
Oklahoma Pastors for Kids released a powerful statement for full funding of Oklahoma’s public schools. Here is their statement on SB407’s final effort to send public money to private schools. Oklahoma Pastors for Kids also held a successful letter campaign to defeat scholarship tax credit (voucher) expansion! To read more about this victory go here. Oklahoma Parent Legislative Action Committee was featured for their work in the local news. Check it out here. Oklahoma Parents and Educators for Public Education celebrated the $3 billion bump in education funding in Oklahoma. Check out their open Facebook page for the latest.
The Community Alliance for Public Education (CAPE) hosted a Beer and Blab on May 10th to unite community activists in the area. Oregon Save our Schools and Oregon BATs supported and attended the May 8th teacher walk out. To read more about it go here.
Keystone State Education Coalition exposed that urban district leaders protest proposed charter law changes because they will continue to take money away from public schools that are underfunded. To read more go here.
Pittsburgh Task Force on the Right to Education supported a Post-Secondary Family Resource Night for families who have children that identify as having a disability, with or without a 504 or IEP on May 9th. View this amazing event here. Pittsburgh Task Force on the Right to Education continue to be one of the leading voices for students with disabilities and their families by providing them with information on advocacy and training.
Providence Student Union initiated an action alert called All Students Deserve a Healthy School Lunch. To view this action go here.
Quality Education Project hosted a forum on May 23rd. The forum, Dark Money and Privatization in CCSD, was well attended. For more information go here.
The Momma Bears continue to expose the cost of the ESA (Education Savings Account-Vouchers) bill to taxpayers and public schools. To read more about the cost of this program go here. Pastors for Tennessee Children joined teachers, parents, students, and community members in the fight to stop vouchers in the state of Tennessee. The FBI is interviewing Tennessee lawmakers about whether any improper incentives were offered to pass Gov. Bill Lee’s education savings account bill in the state House. Stay tuned!
CFSID Community Leadership Committee continues to pushback on the validity and relevance of STAAR tests. CFSID is pushing back against adding to the number of tests and giving $100M to the STAAR test contractor. To read more about this go here. The Texas Coalition for Public Schools provides some excellent resources on their website for the impact of virtual schools on student success and vouchers. Pastors for Texas Children are BUSY! They are fighting hard for public education funding, fighting against the use of high stakes testing, and holding a benefit luncheon on June 18th. To learn more about their work and support this wonderful organization go here. Texas Kids Can’t Wait were involved in push back against SB29 which would have allowed charters to advocate at will while severely limiting the advocacy efforts of pro-public education organizations. To read more go here. Community Voices for Public Education co-founder Alpa Sridharan published a powerful op-ed with Coretta Mallet-Fontenot and Carmen Dueñas on why state takeovers would be bad for HiSD.
Virginia Educators United and Virginia BATs provided a valuable resource packet on how teachers in Virginia could engage in May Day actions.
WA BATs – WA BAT Becca Ritchie helped to coordinated an amazing Asian-Pacific Heritage Month celebration. To view the powerful pictures and video from the day go here. Washington Paramount Duty Board member Summer Stinson was present when Gov. Inslee signed an education funding bill and progressive taxation bills.
First Focus on Children released a powerful statement on what would happen to children if the government changes the poverty measure.
Parents for Public Schools Milwaukee stood with their partner organizations within the Wisconsin Public Education Network calling on fairness in the state budget to benefit all children in Wisconsin. To view their statement go here. Wisconsin Education Network collected videos on why lawmakers need to fund education. Here is a sample video! Finally, Schools and Communities United attended Milwaukee Community School Awards with the amazing students, educators, and community groups that make Milwaukee’s Community Schools thrive. To view the event go here.
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.
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Marla Kilfoyle, Grassroots Liaison
Network for Public Education