October 30, 2020 12:33 pm

Grassroots Education Network- October 2020 Newsletter

Published by

The NPE Grassroots Education Network is a network of over 155 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

As I type our newsletters each month, I notice consistent themes in organizing.  One theme that never seems to go away is how organizations in the network work together.  In this newsletter, you will see how state organizations work together for events and actions. For example, Schools and Communities United, Parents for Public Schools Milwaukee, and Wisconsin Public Education Network sponsored a Grab and Go Giveaway to show public school support this month. The Pastors network hosted a virtual luncheon with NPE President Diane Ravitch this month. Pastors for Florida Children and the Florida Council of Churches collaborated on a great new source for Pastors and Houses of Worship called Why Should Christians Care About Public Education, written by Angel Pittman and edited by Rachel Gunter Shapard. You can read it here. Virginia Educators United and Virginia BATs released a petition this month about the reopening of schools in VA. The petition strongly urges lawmakers to change course and delay consideration of openings to the end of the second quarter, after the winter holidays at the earliest. Class Size Matters, NY Allies for Public Education, and the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy are working together this month to survey parents about which online apps or programs are being employed by schools throughout New York state and whether they are sufficiently protective of children’s privacy. 

Through the many newsletters I have written, I see this consistent theme of connection and organizing, which is always a recipe for success. So, as you read this newsletter, and subsequent newsletters, look for other organizations you can connect with.  Many of the organizations have specific strengths, resources, or people that can help.  If you need a connection, send me an email, and I will connect you.  Most of all, know that you are part of a network with so many resources, people, and strength to help you when you need it.  

National Organizing

Network for Public Education President Diane Ravitch spoke to an education class this month at Acadia Senior College in Maine.  NPE Executive Director Carol Burris appeared on The Rick Smith Show late last month talking about the rate of charter failures in our poorest communities. NPE is also tracking COVID impact in schools in three states (PA, CT, and NY). We hope to release some information on the trends we see in the near future.  Defending the Early Years are thrilled that their COVID 19 Survey Report on the effects of the pandemic on families, children, and educators has made its way into Forbes. In the Public Interest reported this month that DeVos gave South Carolina $31.5 million for charter schools despite protests by public school teachers. The Journey for Justice Alliance podcast On The Ground, hosted by Jitu Brown, airs every Monday at 6 PM CST. J4J also held a virtual Town Hall this month on the future of education. To view the archived video, go hereFairtest 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.  Head over to their open Facebook page for updates and their weekly newsletter. Rethinking Schools conducted an “Art Imitates Life, Life Imitates Ads” online workshop this month.  Be sure to check into their Facebook page for updates on events they will be holding in the future.  The Parent Coalition for Student Privacy is a valuable resource for all that is student, parent, and educator privacy.  Check out their website for valuable toolkits on the topic. Parents for Public Schools published an important blog late last month on DeVos and the fight over COVID 19 aid to private schools. 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 President and CEO Dr. John H. Jackson’s powerful article If Young Black Lives Matter, Liberating Learning Matters in Nonprofit Quarterly is a must-read. 

The Badass Teachers Association (BATs) Executive Director, Melissa Tomlinson, took time this month to speak to Mike Soskil about a chapter she wrote for Flip the System. 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 has partnered with researchers studying COVID19 and the health impacts it has on its members.  We hope to publish the results in our next newsletter. Wear Red for Ed has an active open Facebook page that tracks the Red for Ed movement nationwide. It is also tracking education issues that are surfacing due to the shutdown of our schools. Uniting to Save Our Schools (USOS) conducted an action dialogue on police free schools this month.  We hope to have that dialogue in our next newsletter. First Focus Campaign for Children highlighted  Mental Health Day this month. They hit home the fact that we need to bring mental health to the forefront for our children. Kinderchat continues to host its 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 has asked their community to send them videos or photos of children working from home.  To see some of the videos, go here. Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood Screens in Schools Action kit was designed before the pandemic to help parents, educators, and advocates to build an education that meets the needs of students, not the agendas of Big Tech. Now, with the pandemic, the need for a priority shift is bigger than ever. Check out their new Action Kit COVID-19 Addendum, which features new resources and tools for supporting students and schools. Equal Opportunity Schools celebrated National Hispanic Heritage Month by sharing 19 Hispanic Heroes You Should Know.  When Public Schools Reopen hosted an “Organize. Show up. Speak Out” forum this month.  Here is the archived video if you would like to view this forum.  The NPE Grassroots Education Network welcomes our second organization from Canada!  Please welcome Uniting for Children and Youth to the network.  You can read about them here on their website.  Give them a follow on Twitter and Facebook

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. 


For all the latest in Alabama education, make sure you visit SOS (Support our Students) on Facebook. 


Voices for Education are providing some of the top updates on Prop 208 in Arizona.  Arizonans for Charter School Accountability update their website frequently about charter corruption across the nation and in Arizona. Save our Schools Arizona conducted a fantastic webinar this month on Indigenous Perspectives: The Importance of Voting – Part 2 with Nadine Groenig, Tribal Outreach Consultant for Save Our Schools Arizona Network.  Go here to view the webinar. Arizona Educators United participated in a successful phone bank for Prop 208 this month. 


California Educators United are posting news about school reopening in California. Head to their open Facebook page for more information. The Public Core program, Between Two Teachers, is informative. To view all their archived programs, go here. The Association of RAZA Educators conducted a fundraiser for the Navajo (Dine) reservation this month. All of the donations will go 100% to Dinetah. They will be going in November as a caravan of trusted families carrying 25lb bags of rice, beans, coffee, dried milk, hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, masks, and cash. Check out Bay Area Collective Keeping Privatizers Away from Community Schools (BACKPACS) on Facebook to keep up with all their movements in fighting back the charter lobby in the Bay Area. 


Pueblo Education Coalition held a presentation and discussion on police free schools this month.  We will have the archived video in our next newsletter. 


Children Are More Than Test Scores continues to host readings on their Facebook page. This month they read Last Stop on Market Street. Re:public Ed informs Connecticut residents about the 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.


Please go to Facebook and follow  Fund Education NOW, Florida BATs, and Broward BATs to keep up with all that is happening in Florida education.  Pastors for Florida Children and the Florida Council of Churches shared a great new source for Pastors and Houses of Worship in your area.  Why Should Christians Care About Public Education, written by Angel Pittman and edited by Rachel Gunter Shapard. You can read it hereOpt-Out Florida Network shared powerful testimonies by teachers about testing this year.  You can read them here and here. Pinellas Parents Advocating for School Improvements organizes on 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


To keep up on what is happening in public education in Georgia give Public Education Matters Georgia a follow on Facebook.  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. The Georgia Chapter of the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME) was founded in 1990 to bring together individuals from all academic levels and disciplines and from diverse educational institutions and other organizations, occupations, and communities who had an interest in multicultural education. NAME is committed to a philosophy of inclusion that embraces the basic tenets of democracy and cultural pluralism. To keep up with their movements visit their website


Parents for Public Schools Hawaii have published the results of their 5-minute family pandemic survey.  You can read the results here


Illinois Raise Your Hand held a State of Remote Learning and Future of Hybrid Learning Town Hall this month. We hope to have the archived video in our next newsletter. Illinois Families for Public Schools publishes a News You Can Use each month.  Please share with anyone you know who lives in Illinois. 


The Indiana Coalition for Public Education posted a very important piece on their open Facebook page. If public school consolidation is suggested by Indiana lawmakers this coming session as a way to save money, please refer to the following numbers at this link. Why should charter schools continue to expand while our public schools struggle? Indiana Coalition for Public Schools – Monroe County is posting important tweets from Jennifer McCormick about the education budget.  The Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education posted information about the fight to increase teacher salaries in Indiana. “Adjusted for inflation, Indiana teacher salaries decreased by 15% over the 15-year period, according to the Indiana Department of Education.” Northwest Indiana Coalition for Public Education exposed that Tech Trep Academy, a virtual charter school, that has come under scrutiny for wooing families with dollars, which state education officials say could be an illegal enrollment incentive. To read more, go here.


Do you know anyone in Iowa?  If so, make sure they join Iowans for Public Education.  Send them here to join and connect. 


Game On for Kansas Schools stated that they have become aware that Dave Trabert of the Kansas Policy Institute has been participating in several Johnson County-based “let them play” and “let them learn” type groups and their Facebook pages. Game on for Kansas Schools would like to remind Kansas citizens that Dave and KPI have been on the opposite side of almost every issue they have addressed, including funding for schools, vouchers, tax credit “scholarships,” tax policy (as in bringing in enough taxes to fund schools and other essential services), and even most ironically, funding extracurricular activities (Game on for Kansas Schools supported it, Trabert did not). KPI is a Koch-funded group that opposes adequate taxation, public education, and other public services.  To learn more, and to share with anyone you know in Kansas, go here 


Visit the Dear JCPS blog for all the latest in education in Jefferson County. Check out the Kentucky SOS calendar on their website to engage in their actions and events.  Pastors for Kentucky Children continue to say and share prayers for all of our educators, students, and their families. 


Step Up Louisiana held a New Orleans Parent Union Town Hall this month.  To see the archived video go here


The Baltimore Algebra Project has launched a YouTube channel.  Check it out here


Citizens for Public Schools supported the Invest in Our Recovery campaign by asking Massachusetts citizens to sign a petition to raise significant new revenue from profitable corporations and their shareholders this year to invest in public services that improve public health, grow our economy, and reduce racial inequities. The New Bedford Coalition to Save our Schools organizer Noah Wilson took part in the Uniting to Save Our Schools dialogue for Police Free Schools. 


The Michigan Network for Equity in Education continues to support children and their families by providing information about services they can access to make remote education happen. Save Michigan’s Public Schools are providing information about COVID school closings and remote learning on their open Facebook page. Michigan Parents for Schools post important information for parents in Michigan on their public Facebook page. MI Ed Justice has launched a MI OFFLINE CO-OP for parents and students who want to get off of zoom and into the world. Additionally, one of their parents wrote a blog post about their first field trip.  MI Ed Justice also reformatted their social justice PLC’s for a PL-SEE YOU OUTSIDE format where teachers can gather for a sort of support group atmosphere during these really draining times. They are now focusing the month of October on school board elections and partnering with another organization on holding local forums for members. Give Trusted Voices ED a follow on Twitter to keep up with their events and issues. 


Parents for St. Paul Schools continue to work hard to get a charter moratorium passed in their state and city.  Visit their open Facebook page for all the latest.  


Parents for Public Schools – Moss Point continues to support their community with information about storm resources, education, meals, and much more. Parents For Public Schools of Greenwood and Leflore County are still hosting Early Childhood Development programs for their community. They have been doing this since March. For more information on their programs, go here. Parents For Public Schools of Philadelphia advocates 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.


Keep up with the Missouri BATs by giving them a follow on twitter. Columbia Parents for Public Schools promotes parent engagement to improve education and build public support for public schools in Columbia. 


Stand for Schools released a powerful statement on special interests and Nebraska education. Nebraska Loves Public Schools highlighted teacher Rebecca Wenger in their latest film. Rebecca knows that teachers have an important and difficult job; it’s exactly what she was meant to do.  


Educate Nevada NOW issued a public comment regarding funding for Nevada education. The Nevada commission for education will deliberate the term “Optimal Funding” and what that means.  Read the ENN public comment here

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 that Governor Murphy will be nominating Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan as Commissioner of Education. She is currently serving as the interim Morris County Superintendent. Dr. Allen-McMillan has more than 25 years of experience as a teacher and administrator in New Jersey schools. The Newark Students Union joined with NJ Communities United, and their allies, in building a movement against Wall Street interests and waging war to make higher education accessible again.  To read more about this, go here. Delran Education Association continues to support their community by sharing vital information for parents regarding childcare, healthcare, and technology support.  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 uses its open Facebook page to inform the community about school openings and the COVID crisis. Montclair started the year remote and will move to hybrid when it is deemed safe. To read more about that, go here. Give Our Children Our Schools a follow on Twitter to keep up with any future 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 reported that the Paterson School Board voted to extend remote learning until 1/19/21. The decision was based on the Superintendent’s recommendation, informed by C19 infection rates, county data, and emergency shutdown of external schools. The vote was unanimous. 

New York

Class Size Matters Executive Director Leonie Haimson hosts a radio show Talk Out of School on NY WBAI.  Her latest show hosted Prof. Noliwe Rooks, who talked about “integration fatigue” among other current topics, and William Doyle about life in Finland and how his 7th-grade son’s Helsinki public school is faring during the pandemic.  To listen to this show, and other archived shows, go hereVisit the NYSAPE (New York State Allies for Public Education) website for all the latest about education in New York State.  Class Size Matters, New York Allies for Public Education, and the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy are working together this month to survey parents about which online apps or programs are being employed by schools throughout New York state and whether they are sufficiently protective of children’s privacy. LI Opt-Out, the national leader in the Opt-Out movement, has a vibrant public Facebook page. There are important discussions going on about school reopening on Long Island. NYC Opt Out also has a public Facebook group that is currently having important conversations about the reopening of NYC schools. If you live in NYC, go here to connect. The Alliance for Quality Education hosted a Guardians of Public Education on Facebook live this month. Give Change the Stakes a follow on Facebook to keep up with what is happening in NYC education during the COVID crisis. NY BATs continue to host events for teachers, parents, and students.  Last month they co-hosted a Know Your Ventilation forum on Zoom. Keep up with FUSE (New Rochelle Federation of United School Employees) by checking out their news and views. MORE-UFT members Sarah Yorra and Derek Hafner, FDR High School teachers, protested outside their school this month. They teach at FDR High School in Bensonhurst/Mapleton, a Covid hot spot in zip code 11204. With a small group of colleagues, they have been trying to organize for remote learning at their school since the summer, with middling results. Jackson Heights People for Public Schools had their Parent’s Survey of the NYC Teacher Shortage story featured on Spectrum News NY1. Parents for Public Schools- Syracuse has 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 hosted Strategies for Creating Trauma-Informed Schools/Classrooms this month. The workshop was designed for teachers and administrators. The session was based on the film Resilience about toxic stress and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and how students can survive trauma by learning to be resilient.  Be sure to visit the events page on their Open Facebook page for more events coming soon. 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 Mr. Allan Younger, Director of the Small Business Center at Forsyth Tech Community College, in their Organizers Circle this month. Mr. Younger joined Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods to discuss information on the Small Business Center as well as his experiences in small business and entrepreneurship.  Pastors for North Carolina Children, and other members of the Pastor network,  hosted NPE President Diane Ravitch this month for a virtual lunch.  If you live in Pitt County, or know someone who does, make sure that they subscribe to the Parents for Public Schools of Pitt County YouTube channel. 


Ohio BATs organize in a closed Facebook group of over 2000 members.  If you live in Ohio or know someone who does, send them this link to connect. It Takes A Village To Tackle HB70 continues to share vital information for their community.  This month they shared the COVID-19 Dashboard for ongoing test results, detailed information about their communities testing partnership, and what community members can do to keep Lorain safe during the pandemic. It Takes A Village also organizes in a private Facebook group of over 1000 members.  If you live in the Lorain area, or know someone who does, please ask to join and connect. Northwest Ohio Friends of Public Education continues to monitor the movement to cancel testing this year.  To learn more, go here.  Public Education Partners (PEP) shared information about how much private money is fueling legislation that impacts public education in Ohio. Parents For Public Schools of Greater Cincinnati post upcoming events on their open Facebook page. 


Pastors for Oklahoma Kids have been keeping up on the EPIC charter scandal in their state.  Head over to their open Facebook page to catch up with the latest. The Oklahoma Parent Legislative Action Committee has also been keeping up with the EPIC charter scandal.  Check out their open Facebook page as well. Oklahoma Parents and Educators for Public Education & Oklahomans for Public Education organize in a private group on Facebook.  If you live in Oklahoma or know someone who does, join up to connect. 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. 


Community Alliance for Public Education (CAPE) encouraged their members to join Dignity Unbound this month for the world premiere of the short documentary Education Reimagined: The Journey of West Virginia. After the screening of the 9-minute short documentary, there was a Q&A discussion with the film’s subjects. Check out Oregon Save Our Schools on Facebook for all the latest in Oregon education. 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 publishes a daily PA education policy roundup.  Pennsylvania School Board Association shared a resolution supporting the development of an anti-racist climate. They asked local districts to adopt the resolution, share it with your local community, and submit a copy to PSBA. The Pittsburgh Task Force on the Right to Education holds monthly meetings for parents in the Pittsburgh district.  Head over to their event calendar for more information. Education Voters PA conducted an action this month to tell PA lawmakers—Choose public schools, not DeVos vouchers. Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools continues to keep an eye on their Board of Education.  Outsourcing, Equity, Policy changes, charter schools–APPS took a look at some of the items the BOE will vote on this month.

Rhode Island

The Providence Student Union celebrates activism, social justice, and youth power with daily prompts to ignite the activist in each of us! Join them each day for a new task in celebration of ActivismTober. To keep up with what is happening in Rhode Island, give the Parents Across Rhode Island Facebook page a follow. 

South Carolina

The Quality Education Project is sharing the use of “dark money” that is being spent in their school board races.  Go here for more information and make sure you share it with anyone you know who lives in South Carolina. 


The Momma Bears have a great blog full of information about the fight for public education in Tennessee. Check it out here. Make sure to give Tennesseans Reclaiming Educational Excellence (TREE) a follow on Twitter to keep up with all that is going on in Tennessee education. Pastors for Tennessee Children conducted a Facebook Live event this month with Dr. Bob Kronick, Tennessee’s leading authority on community schools. To see that discussion go 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 hosted NPE President Diane Ravitch this month for a virtual lunch. Here is a recap of that event. CFISD Community Leadership Committee is a volunteer group of parents, business people, and retirees who believe that having a strong independent school district is important to the economic well-being of the Cypress-Fairbanks community. To keep up with their actions and events, visit their website. 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. Check out the RootEd monthly newsletter called The Branch here. 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 took part in a car caravan with 150+ educators and allies this month to demand that Gov. Abbott, TEA, and HISD ensure a safer reopening. Keep up with Our Schools San Antonio on their open Facebook page. The Coalition for Equity in Public Education continues to share information about everything that is happening in the Dallas Independent School District.  From testing to charter schools, go here to keep up with their movements and information. Texas AFT shared important resources on school safety and ways you can take control and hold your school and hold district leaders accountable too. One way is to form a safety committee on your campus. Whether you’re a member of a local union or not, you can start a committee and use it to raise issues to leadership, build power with your colleagues, and improve your work environment.


The Vermont Coalition for Equity in Education hosted an incredible webinar this month on  Decolonizing the Classroom.”  You can see and share that webinar here


Virginia Educators United and Virginia BATs released a petition this month about the reopening of schools in VA. The petition strongly urges lawmakers to change course and delay consideration of openings to the end of the second quarter, after the winter holidays at the earliest. Support Our Schools-Shenandoah County organizes to fight for public education in that region. You can connect here. To learn more about the Virginia Public Education Partners visit their Facebook page or give them a follow on Twitter.  

Washington State

WA BATs has an active Twitter feed full of powerful graphics. Check it out hereWashington Paramount Duty continues to fight for a fair and equitable budget for Washington children. Read here about their fight against an austerity budget and a need to implement progressive revenue streams for public education.  


Wisconsin Public Education Network is asking the Wisconsin public to take the Vote Public Pledge. Schools and Communities United, Parents for Public Schools Milwaukee, and Wisconsin Public Education Network sponsored a Grab and Go Giveaway to show your public school support this month.

 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.