October 30, 2019 2:11 pm

Grassroots Education Network- October 2019 Newsletter

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The NPE Grassroots Education Network is a network of over 145 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

Registration is open for the NPE Action 6th National Conference to be held in Philadelphia, March 28-29. Seats are limited this year to 500, so DO NOT delay your registration. Go here to register and book your hotel! Please do not delay, reserve your seat today!  

Public Schools Week will be held from February 24th-28th. Start planning NOW by doing the following:

  • Begin to ask your Governor, state and federal lawmakers, Mayor, City Council, or Board of Education to adopt a resolution in support of Public Education. Begin to do this now. You can adopt, edit, or modify this resolution from The School Superintendents Association. If you get a resolution please send it to Marla Kilfoyle at marlakilfoyle@networkforpubliceducation.org and we will forward it along.
  • National organizations please cut a three-minute video that encourages your members to participate in Public Schools Week. Here are the instructions for the video. To see sample videos please go here.  
  • Please share and ask your members to take the pledge in support of Public Schools week. You can do that here.
  • Please consider hosting an event. Starting planning NOW and register your event here  
  • Here is the website for Public Schools Week and here is the toolkit with all kinds of amazing things you can do to support the week on social media.  

The Network for Public Education Phyllis Bush Memorial Award

Last March the nation lost a warrior for children and public education. Phyllis Bush was a retired public school teacher who taught English Language Arts to students in Illinois and Indiana for 32 years. Upon retirement, she devoted her energies to fighting high-stakes testing and school privatization. She founded the Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education and devoted her energies to lobbying for sound public education policies in her state and the nation. Phyllis also served on the Board for The Network for Public Education.  We miss Phyllis dearly. Applications are now open for The Network for Public Education Phyllis Bush Memorial Award.  To apply please go here and help us honor Phyllis, her work, and her dedication to grassroots organizing.

National Organizing

Defending the Early Years announced the release of two new teachers speakout videos. Dr. Denisha Jones, of Defending the Early Years and an NPE Board Member, published her last article on Anji play. Defending the Early Years also welcomed Erika Christakis to their National Advisory Board. Finally, Marcy Guddemi, Treasurer for DEY, had an op-ed piece published in the Florida Ledger called Florida must recommit to promise of quality pre-K.  Please give it a read and share. In the Public Interest published a powerful article, The myth of the old-fashioned, behind-the-times traditional public school is wrong. The article outlined how charter schools aren’t inherently more innovative than neighborhood true public schools schools. The Journey for Justice Alliance podcast On The Ground, hosted by Jitu Brown, airs every Monday at 6 PM CST. J4J also supported a twitter storm to support grassroots efforts in Arkansas to stop the removal of an elected school board. To see this campaign visit #OneLRSD on twitter. To read more about this issue head over to J4J’s open Facebook page. Fairtest publishes an amazing newsletter each week that points out why relying on standardized exams to make high-stakes educational decisions is not good educational practice. Congratulations to Rethinking Schools for receiving the 2019 Skipping Stones Honor Award for their book Teaching for Black Lives.To see why this amazing book received such an honor go here. The Parent Coalition for Student Privacy received the 2019 New York Award. The award identifies organizations that have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. The award recognizes local organizations that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and their community. The award further states that these exceptional organizations help make the New York area a great place to live, work and play. Congratulations Parent Coalition for Student Privacy!  Joann Mickens, Executive Director of Parents for Public Schools National published a powerful article, The 2020 Census: An Undercount Means Communities Miss Out on Money this month.  PPS national also released their 2018/2019 impact report. Parents Across America highlighted their Boston Affiliate, QUEST, for being instrumental in the selection of the Boston schools new superintendent. The Schott Foundation must see webinar is now archived.  Keeping Public Education Public: New Strategies Against School Voucher Programs introduced Public Funds Public Schools, a joint campaign of Education Law Center and Southern Poverty Law Center that seeks to ensure public funds for education are used to maintain and support public schools. The webinar discussed the history and varied forms of private school vouchers and the strategies being used—including litigation, advocacy, and research—to halt and roll back voucher programs. The webinar also shared specific examples of their work and the many ways that public education stakeholders can support efforts to keep public funds in public schools that are open to all students. Melissa Tomlinson, Executive Director of The Badass Teachers Association (BATs) had an article published in Insider New Jersey titled The State BOE Needs to Move ASAP on Test Reduction Regs. The Trinational Coalition to Defend Public Education (USA) shared a message of support  for the Chicago Teachers’ Union from their affiliates in Mexico. The Ontario (Canada) Secondary School Teachers Federation supported and took part in the Ontario Walk-In to support public education. The Wear Red for Ed open Facebook page 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 has an active twitter feed that will keep you up-to-date on all that is happening nationally in the fight for our children. 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. The Network for Public Education was honored to have their report, Asleep at the Wheel, cited in the Warren Education Plan. 

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. 


Terri Rector Michal of SOS (Support our Students) was invited to speak on a panel after a showing of Backpack Full of Cash at Auburn University this month. 


Voices for Education attended a voting rights rally in late September. To see more about this event go hereArizonans for Charter School Accountability reported that the Charter Board and the Auditor General will require charters to accurately report revenue and expenses – for the first time since 1994. Save our Schools Arizona have had great turnouts at their town halls this month. Check out a photo from their Tucson Townhall! SOS Arizona Board Member Ylenia Aguilar was honored by New American Leaders for Hispanic Heritage Month in early October. Arizona Educators United are asking Arizona educators to post on their open Facebook page their #RedforEd pictures.  Each week they ask a specific question of educators. Go here and here to see this amazing organizing idea. 


California Educators United shared a powerful video of Kaiser Elementary (Oakland, CA) parents and teachers taking over their school board meeting to protest the closing of their school. Public Core has provided a short summary of the Charter Task Force work on their website. The Association of RAZA Educators was founded by members of Unión del Barrio in the spring of 1994, and its first core membership was made up of teachers from the San Diego area. What “sparked” ARE to life was the passage into law of Proposition 187, a ballot initiative designed to deny immigrants social services, health care, and public education. To learn more about ARE and their amazing work go here.


The Pueblo Education Coalition held a community dinner and conversation this month.  We will report on this in our next newsletter. 


To kick off October, Children Are More Than Test Scores founder Jesse Turner wrote a powerful essay, Why Teach? Re:public Ed informs Connecticut residents about state, local and federal education policies that have an impact on the children of Connecticut. New London Parent Advocates updates their open Facebook page weekly with all that is happening in the New London Public Schools.


Fund Education NOW co-founder Kathleen Oropeza questioned the Florida Department of Education listening tour in an op-ed this month. To keep up with what is happening in one of the largest districts in Florida, give Broward BATs a follow on their open Facebook page. Florida BATs also has an open Facebook page that reports out events, activities, and information about what is happening with education in the state. To get the latest on opting out of testing in Florida make sure you visit Opt Out Florida Network Facebook page. Pastors for Florida Children will be holding a luncheon Tuesday, November 19 at 12:30 Central Baptist Church, Daytona Beach. To register please go here. This month, the Florida Council of Churches will be attending Dreaming God’s Dream Together:Faith Leaders Advancing Shared Hope. Pinellas Parents Advocating for School Improvements organize in a closed facebook page. If you are a member of the Pinella community, or know anyone who is, encourage them to join the closed group to connect and organize.


Public Education Matters Georgia reported that teachers were not happy with the state of testing in Georgia and let the Governor of Georgia hear about it! Moms and Dads Now Enduring Surrealistic Stupidity (MADNESS) Georgia shared an event happening this month in Georgia about the importance of college. 


Parents for Public Schools Hawaii and the College of Education Student Association (CESA) had a Children and Youth Day booth this month at the State Capitol. They assisted children with drawing what they liked about their school, or family, and also had children complete a fun activity. 


Illinois Raise Your Hand provided resources for parents and the community to help them navigate the Chicago Teachers Union strike. They also had a successful Raise A Glass for RYH this month. See photos here, here, and here


Indiana Coalition for Public Schools – Monroe County shared a strong statement against standardized testing from Madison Consolidated Schools Board of Trustees. Indiana Coalition for Public Education was well represented this month by board member Maryann Schlegel Rueger at the summer study committee hearing on the Complexity Index. Board member, and NPE Board Member, Dountonia Batts also brought students to testify. The Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education publish their most popular posts each week. This is a great way to keep up with the most popular education issues facing Indiana.  Northwest Indiana Coalition for Public Education will be sharing important information about the state takeover of the Gary Public Schools. Check out their open Facebook page for updates. 


Iowans for Public Education have several groups throughout the state. If you live in Iowa, or know someone who does, please tell them to connect with Iowans for Public Education group in their area. 


Game On for Kansas Schools shared the work of the Blue Ribbon Ribbon Task Force on Bullying. The task force reviewed assertiveness training and school safety. The task force will give recommendations to the State Board of Education in December.


Dear JCPS sent out an informative email with events, actions, and information early this month. Kentucky SOS shared with their members concerns about the access of personal data given to a school board candidate. Pastors for Kentucky Children are encouraging community members to get out and register to vote.  


To keep up with the movements of The Baltimore Algebra Project visit their website


Citizens for Public Schools celebrated the passage of the Student Opportunity Act.  To read more about this act go here. The New Bedford Coalition to Save our Schools is now on Instagram. Make sure you give them a follow here


The Michigan Network for Equity in Education invited educators to share what they were doing in their classrooms on Indigenous Peoples Day. This month Save Michigan’s Public Schools shared that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer used a line-item veto to strike $35 million out of the School Aid budget that was slated to go to per-pupil increases for charter schools. Michigan Parents for Schools is an advocacy group working for stable and adequate funding for public schools in Michigan. They have been fighting since 2007 for a better way to fund education – for their children and for their communities.  MI Ed Justice encouraged their followers to attend an education and inclusion forum this month. 


Parents for Public Schools – Moss Point will be holding their 3rd Annual Banquet on November 21st. For information go here. Parents For Public Schools of Greenwood and Leflore County continue to strengthen public schools by mobilizing parents in Greenwood and Leflore Counties. Parents For Public Schools of Philadelphia mobilize parents in the Philadelphia Public School District for their students and schools. 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 strengths of the Starkville Oktibbeha Consolidated School District.


Follow Missouri BATs on twitter to keep up with education movements in the state. Columbia Parents for Public Schools promote parent engagement and work with educators to improve education and build public support for public schools in Columbia. 


To keep up with all that is happening in Nebraska schools, make sure to give Stand for Schools a follow on Facebook. Nebraska Loves Public Schools released the trailer of The Mind Inside: Episode Two this month. The multi-episode series explores mental health student issues in public schools.  


Educate Nevada NOW published Identifying Necessary Funding – SB543 Funding Commission’s Most Critical Charge to clear up questions about funding education in Nevada. 

New Hampshire

Barrington Educators Association is the local chapter of the New Hampshire-NEA.  You can view their work here

New Jersey

Save our Schools NJ attended the 4th Community Schools Convening this month. We will report on that event in our next newsletter. Follow The Newark Students Union on twitter to keep up with their news and events. The Delran Education Association held a benefit fair for their members this month. If you are a resident of Elizabeth, join the Elizabeth Parents and Students Care closed Facebook group to connect. Montclair Cares About Schools asked their followers to please sign and share a petition to reduce testing. Please follow Our Children Our Schools on twitter to keep up with their movements and events. If you live in the South Orange-Maplewood section of New Jersey please ask to join and connect with South Orange-Maplewood Cares About Schools on their closed Facebook group. 

New York

Class Size Matters, NYSAPE, LI Opt Out, NYC Opt Out, and the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy sent out a warning to parents telling them to protect their child’s data from the College Board. College Board is the organization that oversees the SAT and ACT. The Alliance for Quality Education will be holding their Annual Gala, Tuesday, December 3, 2019. The invitation will be coming soon, so mark your calendar. AQE also hosted an education town hall last month. Check out this video to see what their top three education priorities are. Finally, Jasmine Gripper will be taking over as Executive Director of AQENY. Congratulations, and thank you, to Billy Easton the outgoing Executive Director. Make sure to give Change the Stakes a follow on Facebook to keep up with the test resistance movement in NYC. NY BATs are asking followers of their open Facebook page to post any education news stories from their area of New York State. Make sure to check out FUSE (New Rochelle Federation of United School Employees)  Presidents News and Views to keep up with their movements and actions. ECE Policy Works has engaged in many actions over the years. To see an archive of all the work they have done for early childhood education head over to their website. MORE-UFT held their October meeting on the 18th at the Earth School. We will report on that in our next newsletter.  MORE-UFT will also be holding a Curriculum Fair on November 3rd. For more information go here. For events happening in the Jackson Heights area, please visit the Jackson Heights People for Public Schools open group on Facebook. Events and activities are posted daily. Parents for Public Schools- Syracuse continues to share information about budget hearings in their area. Make sure if you live in Syracuse, or know someone who does, to check out their open Facebook page for dates and times. NY Parents make up Public School Watchdogs 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) advocates for restoration of funds promised to their schools, fair assessments, and enrichment opportunities for every student in Croton. If you live in Port Washington, Long Island ask to join the Port Washington Advocates for Public Education closed Facebook group to connect and organize. North Country Alliance For Public Education wants to stop the reliance on high stakes testing and 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. 

North Carolina

On October 12th Public Schools First NC and Great Schools in Wake held a conference, Impact of Privatizing Public Schools: A Crisis in the Making. Here is a recap of that powerful conference.  Here is the archived video of the evening.  Parents for Public Schools of Pitt County held a screening of Backpack Full of Cash this month. We will report on this event in our next newsletter. Parents for Public Schools Pitt County also took a tour of one of their Middle Schools. See the pictures here. North Carolina Families for School Testing Reform shared how families can refuse to take the Istation. Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods sponsored a conflict resolution workshop this month. Pastors for North Carolina Children joined the grassroots education network this month. We are so happy to have them. To learn more about their work check out their website.


 Ohio BATs held their Ohio Education Association Ohio BAT Caucus social this month. We will report more on this event in our next newsletter! Public Education Partners (PEP) will be hosting a forum called The Testing Charade on December 3rd. For more information on this event go here. It Takes A Village To Tackle HB70 shared information on the exit of David Hardy, Lorain Academic Distress Commission CEO. For the latest in what is happening in Northwest Ohio please visit  Northwest Ohio Friends of Public Education open Facebook page. Parents For Public Schools of Greater Cincinnati has had great accomplishments through the years.  Check out all their work here and share it with anyone you know who lives in Cincinnati. 


Pastors for Oklahoma Kids continue to invite Oklahomans to sign their declaration on public education. If you know of anyone who lives in Oklahoma please share this with them. Joy Hofmeister of Oklahoma Parent Legislative Action Committee invited Oklahoma parents to take their survey and define what makes a great school. To stay up-to-date with all that is going on in Oklahoma education give Oklahoma Parents and Educators for Public Education & Oklahomans for Public Education a follow on Facebook.


The Community Alliance for Public Education (CAPE) shared opt out forms in English and Spanish for Oregon families. Oregon Save Our Schools co-founder Joan Yatvin is asking for feedback from Oregon residents about what makes a great school.  Oregon BATs organize in a closed Facebook page. If you know anyone in the state of Oregon have them join and connect. 


The Keystone State Education Coalition and the Pennsylvania School Board Association attended the Leadership Conference this month in Hershey, PA. To see more on this event go to the twitter hashtag #PASLC2019. The Pittsburgh Task Force on the Right to Education posted their yearly calendar for meetings. If you know anyone in the Pittsburgh area who would like to advocate for public education, please share this information with them. Susan Spicka, Executive Director of Education Voters PA, shared that Education Voters PA had a successful meeting to set their pro-public education agenda this month. Parents, grandparents, and community members shared their time and talents to help set Education Voters PA pro-public education agenda for PA. No millionaire or billionaire profiteers! 

Rhode Island

The Providence Student Union held a workshop this month titled Cultural Appropriation vs. Halloween: When Borrowing Becomes Exploitation. The workshop was led by Lourdes Monteiro. Parents Across Rhode Island continue to share a large array of education events on their open Facebook page.

South Carolina

The Quality Education Project held their monthly meeting on October 23rd where they discussed their 2019 agenda. The agenda discussed related to policy initiatives around quality education, planning for a local caucusing events related to the 2020 school board elections, also planning for school district public/private partnerships to improve local area public education, and SCforED updates.


Make sure you follow The Momma Bears on Facebook to get all the updated information on what is happening in Tennessee education! Get all the latest news that covers the education fight in Tennessee! Pastors for Tennessee Children held a faith leaders coffee talk this month. For more information go here. Tennessee Strong has an active twitter feed that shares important news items about the fight against vouchers in Tennessee. 


Pastors for Texas Children attended the Hispanic Faith Leaders Initiative to support mobilizing Latino ministers for Texas education advocacy. CFSID Community Leadership Committee shared that CFSID Select Scholars pilot program gave students an up-close look at local and area universities over the summer as well as post-graduation options during weekly sessions. 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 that on the final day of the Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL), an Austin-area high school band got paid a visit by one of the acts. ACL headliner Mumford and Sons visited Stephen F. Austin High School (Austin, Texas) and rehearsed for their ACL set with the Stephen F. Austin High School Maroon Band. RootEd hosted their 2nd annual Future Chargers Football game this month. If you know of anyone in the Houston community please have them connect with Parents For Public Schools of Houston. They post important activities for the Houston community on their open Facebook page. Community Voices For Public Education shared HISD (Houston Independent School District) School Board’s community meetings over the next five weeks as the board updates its governance framework. HISD’s current framework includes a focus on literacy, college and career readiness, community schools, limits on benchmarking, and teacher certification & experience. Our Schools San Antonio welcomed Southwest Independent School District to their family this month!  Texas AFT joined the network this month.  We are so happy to have them. To learn more about their work go here


Virginia Educators United held a UCORE (United Caucus of Rank and File Educators) training workshop on October 26th. Cheryl Gibbs Binkley of  Virginia BATs wrote a powerful essay, But I don’t want to be a Radical! ~ Reflections of a Reluctant Radical. Please read it and share it out. If you live in the Shenandoah area please connect with Support Our Schools-Shenandoah County. You can connect here.

Washington State

WA BATs post up-to-date education news and information on their open Facebook page. Check it out here. Washington Paramount Duty announced that founding members, Summer Stinson and Rebecca Vaux, were retiring from the board. Carrying on the work of WPD will be seven continuing board members: Joy Pratt Stanford, secretary Emily E Carmichael, Rita Green, Sarah Reyneveld, treasurer John Freeman, vice-president Dawn Bennett, and president Robert Cruickshank. 


Wisconsin Education Network published the 2019 school aid numbers which exposed continued funding disparities for Wisconsin. As fall aid numbers and school and district report cards come out, Wisconsin Public Education Network continues to connect the dots between student performance and the failure of the state to provide adequate resources to meet student needs. Their latest report highlights the fact that despite a much-touted bump to school aid, 40% of public school districts received less state aid this year than last year, while unaccountable voucher subsidies increased dramatically. Network partners from around the state will gather in early November for a full day strategy retreat to plan their actions for 2020 and beyond in a united effort to hold lawmakers accountable for their education votes, defend local control of local schools, and support strong public schools statewide. Schools and Communities United announced the return of Educators Amplified radio! Parents for Public Schools Milwaukee have been hard at work this month to #TurnOutTheCount. To see this action 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.