September 25, 2019 5:13 pm

Grassroots Education Network- September 2019 Newsletter

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The NPE Grassroots Education Network is a network of over 135 grassroots organizations nationwide who have joined together to preserve, promote, improve, and strengthen our public schools. If you know of a group that would like to join this powerful network, please go here to sign up.

If you have any questions about the NPE Grassroots Education Network please contact Marla Kilfoyle, NPE Grassroots Education Network Liaison at

Notes from Marla

Registration is now 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. The early bird special will be available until October 1st and limited to the first 100 registrants. Go here to register and book your hotel! Please do not delay, reserve your seat today!

National Organizing

Defending the Early Years shared a follow-up to the Preschool Suspensions article from NBC. This is a 2016 article on why suspensions are harmful from Dr. Denisha Jones and DEY co-founder Diane LevinDEY co-founder Nancy Carlsson-Paige spoke this month to an audience at the Lynn Classical High School Auditorium in Massachusetts about supporting young children in challenging times. We hope to have video on this discussion in our next newsletter. In the Public Interest published an informative article about the Cherry Hill School District’s (New Jersey) attempt to deny lunch to students who have more than $20 in lunch debt. The article titled N.J. school district mulls plan to not feed students, as state hands out corporate tax breaks is a must read! The Journey for Justice Alliance podcast On The Ground, hosted by Jitu Brown, airs every Monday at 6 PM CST. The Journey for Justice Alliance also recognized the 4 year anniversary of the Dyett Hunger Strike. 12 parents, grandparents, organizers, and community members put their bodies on the line to save the last open enrollment high school in the Bronzeville community in Chicago: Walter Dyett School. The struggle continues for self-determination of Black & Brown people and community driven school governance. Fairtest publishes an amazing newsletter each week covering the flaws of relying on standardized exams to make high-stakes educational decisions. Rethinking Schools has joined the global media project, Covering Climate Now, launched by The Nation Magazine and the Columbia Journalism Review. Publications, journalists, and other media outlets around the world pledge to increase their focus on climate change in the eight days leading up to the Sept. 23 launch of the UN Climate Action Summit in New York City. They also circulated a petition to defend Ethnic Studies in California. Finally, they responded to the NY Posts’ attack on social justice teaching and Rethinking Schools books. The Parent Coalition for Student Privacy provided NYC parents with information about opting out of charter mailings. Parents for Public Schools National announced that Lorena Quiroz Lewis, a professional with 30 years of experience in the nonprofit and public health sectors, will assist Parents for Public Schools in the Mississippi Delta, continuing the work of former PPS community coordinator Chiquikta Fountain. Parents Across America’s board member and leader of Parents Across America-Roanoke Valley, Laura Bowman, attended a listening session headlined by the Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Social Services and the Superintendent of Public Instruction. The focus of the session was school readiness for Virginia’s at-risk three and four year olds. Laura submitted remarks to the Executive Leadership Team on School Readiness. The Schott Foundation held a webinar on September 17th titled Keep Public Education Public: New Strategies Against School Voucher Programs. If you missed this webinar you can access the archived webinar here.

Each month The Badass Teachers Association (BATs) recognizes individuals who take action for children, families, and communities. Check out their August BAT Action Award winners! Also, the Quality of Work Life Team, a steering committee in BATs, were instrumental in getting a bill written by Rep. Tim Ryan to address teacher health and wellness. The Trinational Coalition to Defend Public Education (USA) published the latest information on school closures, and student protests, in Mexico. The Ontario (Canada) Secondary School Teachers Federation is back to school! Read their back to school statement highlighting the challenges they will face in the coming school year. Check out the Wear Red for Ed open Facebook page which 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 shares important information about how districts spend millions to keep homeless students in place and the need to fully fund, and pass, the Homeless Children and Youth Act. Kinderchat joined the network in September. To learn more about their work go hereThe Network for Public Education Executive Director, Carol Burris, and NPE Board Member, Class Size Matters Executive Director, and The Parent Coalition for Student Privacy co-founder Leonie Haimson will be hosting a radio show called Talk out of School on WBAI Radio in New York. The show will focus on national and local education issues and will host many informative guests. Tune in every Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. EST or you can call into the show at (212) 209-2877. You can listen to the first show archived here.

NPE Grassroots Education Network – State Organizations Support Public Education

Please use this clearinghouse of information to inform people in the various states about the NPE Grassroots Education Network organizations. Please encourage people to join them and support their work! Call on family, friends, and colleagues to join the fight to save public education! This section is also a place to get great ideas on organizing and actions.


SOS (Support our Students) continues to monitor the impact of the federal Charter School Programs grant money on the attempt to bring charters into Alabama.


Robin Hiller from Voices for Education hosted an episode on KVOI SmartTalk on how to retain and recruit teachers. Her guests were Javier Lopez of Teachers In Industry and Jeremy Garcia of the Indigenous Teacher Education Project. In another episode, Robin and Al hosted Professor Kevin Lawrence Henry who discussed research on disparities in discipline in K-12 education and using restorative justice to combat the school-to-prison pipeline. Arizonans for Charter School Accountability published Part 3 (Online Schools) of their How Charter Owners Become MillionairesSave our Schools Arizona has embarked on their Arizona Townhall Tour. They are encouraging Arizonians to sign up for the town halls which run from Yuma to Flagstaff. To sign up go here. Save Our Schools Arizona communications director Dawn Penich-Thacker was also featured on radio KJZZ in a program titled Meet The Women Leading Education Reform In Arizona. Arizona Educators United invites the public to head over to twitter and check out the #InvestinEd hashtag. This will give community members a real look at what back to school was like for educators and what their concerns are moving into the new school year.


California Educators United shared a live briefing of the groundbreaking “State of Denial” a UTLA/CTA report to LAUSD School Board. The report said: “Charter schools serve a lower percentage of students with disabilities and special needs than public schools; current system of funding incentivizes unequal service, raising civil rights concerns.” The West Contra Costa community organizes through Public Core. It is an organization that fights for public control and accountability in schools.They believe that public schools, open to all, are essential to the health of a democratic society. The Association of RAZA Educators joined the network in September. We are honored to have them on board and look forward to following, and supporting, all their great work. To learn more about them head over to their website.


The Pueblo Education Coalition held their annual meeting in September. We will provide updates on this meeting in our next newsletter. If you live in the Pueblo area make sure you connect with this coalition who support community schools.


Children Are More Than Test Scores founder, Jesse Turner, was busy getting a literacy library ready for back to school. Re:public Ed informs Connecticut residents about state, local and federal education policies that harm children. New London Parent Advocates are a group of parents and community members focused on increasing parent involvement and creating positive change in the New London Public Schools.


Fund Education NOW posts daily on issues impacting Florida education and the attempt to privatize public education. Head over to their open Facebook page for up-do-date reporting on what is happening around the state. This summer they published FL Teachers: In Their Own Words. It is a powerful testament to the struggles educators face in the state of Florida. If you are a Florida teacher, share your story!   Broward BATs kept their members and community informed as Hurricane Dorian headed for the Florida coast. Florida BATs continue to share information that exposes Step Up For Students. Step Up For Students have been handing out opportunity scholarships without checking on eligibility, and due to processing errors delayed disabled students from receiving their school vouchers on time. Opt Out Florida Network alerted kindergarten parents to be on the lookout for FLKRS testing. To learn more about how to stop kindergarten testing go here. Pastors for Florida Children had a great meeting with fellow education advocates Pastors for Oklahoma Children, Pastors for Tennessee Children, Pastors for Mississippi Children, and Pastors for Texas Children on August 30th. Check out their group picture for inspiration! The Florida Council of Churches hosted a state clergy convening in September. We are excited to report on this event in our next newsletter! Pinellas Parents Advocating for School Improvements operates a closed facebook page to organize in the Pinella area. 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 shared an important map from the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute about poverty funding across the country. Moms and Dads Now Enduring Surrealistic Stupidity (MADNESS) Georgia shared a powerful piece written by Bertis Down on the school situation in Georgia.


Parents for Public Schools Hawaii hosted the Hawaii Board of Education Chair Catherine Payne at their September meeting. We will have more on this in our next newsletter! This is another great organizing idea – invite education leaders to your meetings!


Save the Date! Illinois Raise Your Hand will be holding a fundraiser and social on October 22nd called Raise a Glass for Raise Your Hand. Illinois Raise Your Hand is also a plaintiff in a lawsuit with Grassroots Collaborative over the Lincoln Yards TIF. To read about that issue go here. Part of our fight is always about community and making sure that the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes. Tax breaks for corporations hurt our communities and our schools. Finally, Illinois Raise Your Hand is co-hosting a series of workshops to help parents determine if their child may be eligible for extra special education services.


Indiana Coalition for Public Schools – Monroe County reminds all members of their community to attend the October 6th Board of Education meeting. Also, Jenny Robinson from ICPE Monroe County published a letter in the Indianapolis Star about the millions of dollars wasted on testing. Finally, ICPE Monroe County exposed the amount of money spent on religious vouchers in the state. Their blog, Over 99% of Voucher Money Goes to Religious Schools, is a must read and share. Indiana Coalition for Public Education was quoted in an Indy Star story about textbook rental fees in September. The Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education posted a statement from member Stu Bloom on the use of standardized tests to grade schools. Northwest Indiana Coalition for Public Education hosted an event called Teacher Voices: What (and Who) We’re Fighting For on September 5th. Here is a picture of their teacher panel. To see what teachers were saying, visit their twitter feed!


Iowans for Public Education highlighted what Iowa teachers pay for back to school supplies for their students. They encouraged their followers to support educators by asking teachers what they need or providing them with a gift card so that they can purchase what they need for their students.


This month Game On for Kansas Schools exposes the influence of ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) in their state.


Dear JCPS founder Gay Adelmann requested the financial records of the JCPS PTA in September. Her hope was to identify schools that might benefit from a little extra help with programming or fundraising and raise community awareness so that these disparities could be taken into consideration. Dear JCPS reported that the Kentucky PTA sued the JCPS school districts to stop them from turning over PTA financial records to the public. A judge ordered the PTA to release the documents this month. To read more about this issue go hereKentucky SOS attended the University of Kentucky’s College of Education diversity, equity, and inclusion symposium in September. Pastors for Kentucky Children posted an article from Ethics Daily on the powerful pastors movement and their role in the fight to save public education.


The Baltimore Algebra Project led a successful school supply giveaway last month. To view pictures from the event go here.


Citizens for Public Schools started Back to School with a rally to Fund our Future. Citizens for Public Schools Board Member Norma Shapiro had a letter to the editor published in the Boston Globe. Citizens for Public Schools, as part of the Council for School Finance, reported that Massachusetts education officials and the BOE were served with a complaint & summons in a lawsuit alleging constitutional violations of students’ education, plus civil rights, as a result of Massachusetts inadequate school funding system. Finally, Citizens for Public Schools is also advocating for access to recess. The New Bedford Coalition to Save our Schools conducts monthly meetings of their organization each month. Check out pictures from their August meeting. Their next meeting was September 17th. We will report on that in our next newsletter.


The Michigan Network for Equity in Education encouraged their followers to attend a forum called The Statewide Uprising Against Black School Dismantling in September. We will have more information on how this forum went in our next newsletter. Save Michigan’s Public Schools Michigan Parents for Schools shared an important article about some changes students will notice as they go back to classes across Metro Detroit and the state. MI Ed Justice will be hosting a forum on October 9th to educate the community about a law that threatens to flunk 3rd graders if they fail a single standardized test in 2020.


Parents for Public Schools – Moss Point held a community conversation on education legislation this month. We will report back on this conversation in our next newsletter but this is a great organizing idea to inform the community about legislation that could impact schools. PPS Moss Point also does a great job informing their followers and the Moss Point community about dates for their Board of Education meeting. They are encouraging the community to attend and be the solution! Parents For Public Schools of Greenwood and Leflore County continue to strengthen public schools by engaging, educating, and 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 help public schools attract all families by promoting the strengths of the Starkville Oktibbeha Consolidated School District.


Make sure to give Missouri BATs a follow on their twitter feed to keep up with education movements in the state. Columbia Parents for Public Schools promote parent engagement and work with educators and the education system to improve education and build public support for public schools in Columbia.


Stand for Schools released a statement from the Stand For Schools board of directors in support of Dr. Ferial Pearson. Nebraska Loves Public Schools shared a new film, Spring Sprints: Inclusive Sports for All, in September. Please give it a share.


Educate Nevada NOW Research and Advocacy Director, Michaela Tonking, talked to Inside Education on Vegas PBS. Michaela talked about NV K-12 funding and how school districts fared after the legislative session.

New Jersey

Save our Schools NJ continues to educate the public on laws regarding high stakes testing and graduation requirements. Follow The Newark Students Union on twitter to keep up with their news and events. The Delran Education Association celebrated back to school with teachers wearing t-shirts celebrating the grades they teach. Elizabeth Parents And Students Care is an education advocacy group that provides a platform for stakeholders to support needed change in Elizabeth, New Jersey. If you are a resident of Elizabeth join their closed Facebook group to connect. Montclair Cares About Schools shared a powerful article by Maplewood Board of Education member Johanna Wright about segregation in the public schools. Please follow Our Children Our Schools on twitter to keep up with their movements and events. South Orange-Maplewood Cares About Schools organizes in a closed Facebook group. If you live in the South Orange-Maplewood section of New Jersey please ask to join and connect with organizers in your area.

New York

Class Size Matters new research associate, Emily Carrazana, wrote an informative article – The NYC School Survey: Changes over time leading to possibly skewed results and how the survey could be improved. You can read it hereThe Alliance for Quality Education fought hard in the month of August to get Universal Pre-K off the ground in New York. AQE Executive Director Billy Easton is quoted in this article on the issue. Check out their twitter storm on twitter at #upk #prek. Also in September AQE NY sponsored a Harlem education town hall to discuss education priorities. NYSAPE and LI Opt Out leader Jeanette Deutermann took to Facebook live to discuss local computerized assessments. This is a great tool to conduct informative forums or webinars. NYSAPE also issued a press release on 9/8 that opt-out remains strong despite the former commissioner’s scare tactics. NYSAPE outlined the fact that room continues to be made for whole-child initiatives. NYC community members should give NYC Opt Out and Change the Stakes a follow on Facebook to keep up with the test resistance movement in NYC. NY BATs organize NY educators and advocates on their closed Facebook group. If you live in NY and would like to advocate for public education join their closed group hereFUSE (New Rochelle Federation of United School Employees) teachers are a few weeks into their new school year. Make sure to give their President’s News and Views a read. 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. Delegates from MORE-UFT represented at the Panel for Education Policy meeting. They attended to speak out against school segregation and to speak up for culturally relevant curricula. Jackson Heights People for Public Schools informed parents in their community to check their child’s schedule and make sure it had at least 120 minutes a week of physical education. Parents for Public Schools- Syracuse mobilizes parents in the Syracuse area. To stay informed about education in Syracuse give their public Facebook page a follow. 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) wants restoration of funds promised to their schools, fair assessments, and enrichment opportunities for every student in Croton. Port Washington Advocates for Public Education is a community group in Long Island, NY dedicated to providing information on education issues that are relevant to the Port Washington community. To connect and organize, please join their closed group.The members of theNorth Country Alliance For Public Education are parents and citizens from northern NY who want 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 and organize.

North Carolina

On September 21st Public Schools First NC and Great Schools in Wake will be held a conference, Impact of Privatizing Public Schools: A Crisis in the Making, on October 12th. For details go here. We will be reporting on the outcome of this conference in our next newsletter. Kylene Dibble of Parents for Public Schools of Pitt County was featured on Channel 12 News. In the news segment she recommended that parents introduce themselves to their children’s teachers and principals at the beginning of the year. Suzanne Miller, an organizer for North Carolina Families for School Testing Reform, attended a conversation hosted by North Carolina DTEC-TAG (Teachers Advocating to Lead Great Change) about Every Student Succeeds Act and how that impacts students and families in NC. We will have an update on this event in our next newsletter. Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods held an Organizers Circle in September. Their Organizer Circle is defined as a place where neighborhood leaders and activists come to get refreshed, refueled and recharged. Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods will also be holding a Grassroots Grants Interest Meeting in October! Senior Program Officer Robert Leak III will be leading a brief information session on the different types of grants that Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods offers, as well as the application requirements.


Give Ohio BATs a follow on twitter to keep up with the latest in Ohio public education advocacy. Public Education Partners (PEP) continues to ask their members and followers to fight the state takeover plan. This month it was the ask of testifying before the state legislature. It Takes A Village To Tackle HB70 exposed that state report cards continue to mislead the public. Northwest Ohio Friends of Public Education reported on their Facebook page that there is a decline in charter schools in the Columbus area. Parents For Public Schools of Greater Cincinnati hosted a Parents for Financial Freedom forum this month. The forum helped parents develop and improve their understanding of financial literacy, banking systems, investments, savings, checking accounts, and credit.


Pastors for Oklahoma Kids had a great meeting with fellow education advocates Pastors for Texas Children, Pastors for Tennessee Children, Pastors for Mississippi Children, and Pastors for Florida Children on August 30th. Check out their group picture for inspiration! Joy Hofmeister of Oklahoma Parent Legislative Action Committee testified in Washington, D.C. this month about trauma informed instruction practices. During her testimony, Hofmeister stressed the power of authentic connections between educators and students as a way to mitigate trauma’s impact on learning and establish pathways toward hope. Oklahoma Parents and Educators for Public Education & Oklahomans for Public Education celebrated the work of El Reno Public Schools who created a Care Closet for students in need of clothing.


The Community Alliance for Public Education (CAPE) hosted a screening of the film Education Inc. on September 15th. We will report on that event in our next newsletter. Oregon Save Our Schools shared their concerns about data collection on their open Facebook page and encouraged followers to contact their lawmakers with their concerns about data privacy. Oregon BATs organize their events and actions on a closed Facebook page. If you know anyone in the state of Oregon have them join and connect.


The Keystone State Education Coalition does an education policy roundup each day. To follow the daily movements of education in Pennsylvania give their Facebook page a follow. 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 used spoke at a recent board meeting. Spicka said, “If you live in a wealthy community, you can afford to pay really high property taxes to provide the opportunities that your kids need to succeed. We live in a state that does not value poor children.” Pennsylvania School Board Association continues to prepare for their Leadership Conference in October. To learn more go here.

Rhode Island

The Providence Student Union joined Providence public school parents, students and student organizations in a Motion to Intervene to require inclusion of student and parent voices in the state takeover. To read the motion go hereParents Across Rhode Island shared a series of Know Your Rights facts for school from the ACLU of Rhode Island.

South Carolina

The Quality Education Project seeks to empower South Carolina communities to advocate for change that improves the quality of education for all students. QEP posts events, actions, and gatherings on their open Facebook page, so make sure you check it daily if you live in South Carolina.


If you live in Tennessee, or know someone who does, make sure to subscribe to The Momma Bears blog! Get all the latest news that covers the education fight in Tennessee! Pastors for Tennessee Children had a great meeting with fellow education advocates Pastors for Oklahoma Children, Pastors for Texas Children, Pastors for Mississippi Children, and Pastors for Florida Children on August 30th. Check out their group picture for inspiration! Tennessee Strong tweeted to their followers a powerful message from State Representative Gloria Johnson (Knoxville) regarding letters sent out by the Tennessee Education Department informing parents that their school has been targeted to receive additional federal resources and support because a historically underserved group of students scored in the state’s bottom 5% for that group. Based on guidance provided to districts by the state Education Department, most districts are telling parents which student group or groups are struggling.


On October 8th Executive Director of Pastors for Texas Children, Rev. Charles Foster Johnson, will be speaking at the J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies. For more information on this event go hereCFSID Community Leadership Committee hosted a Texas legislative recap this month. The Coalition for Public Schools Texas represents over 3 million Texans statewide. Please encourage anyone you know in Texas to connect with a coalition partner in their area. Texas Kids Can’t Wait posted information about Academia Cuauhtli in Austin, Texas. Academia Cuauhtli is a Saturday School physically located at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Culture Center (ESB-MACC) in Austin, Texas. Academia Cuauhtli has a formal-legal partnership, involving the Austin Independent School District (AISD), the City of Austin’s ESB-MACC, and a community-based organization (CBO) named Nuestro Grupo. They serve fourth-grade children from five East Austin schools, namely, Sanchez, Metz, Zavala, Houston, and Perez Elementary. RootEd celebrated their schools last month. RootEd is excited to host their annual Future Charger Football Game on October 18th. Parents For Public Schools of Houston posts important activities for the Houston community on their open Facebook page. Please share with anyone you know who lives in the Houston area. Community Voices For Public Education shared an important article by Houston Chronicle reporter Jacob Carpenter about the use of test scores in accountability ratings. It is worth a careful read and a share! Our Schools San Antonio invited community members to come share their experiences with school air conditioning last month. Our Schools San Antonio also encouraged their members to attend a community meeting to begin the development of a new Rodriguez Elementary School.


Virginia Educators United recommend that community members attend the screening of Backpack Full of Cash on September 29th. Virginia BATs mobilized their members to Wear Red for Ed as they went back to school in August. Support Our Schools-Shenandoah County supports education in the Shenandoah area. Please Join this coalition if you live in the Shenandoah area.

Washington State

WA BATs organize on their closed Facebook page. If you know of an educator or public education advocate who lives in Washington have them join to organize. Washington Paramount Duty celebrated their 4th Birthday this month! Happy Birthday Washington Paramount Duty! Thank you for all your advocacy and work for the children of Washington state! Washington Paramount Duty also shared with their followers on Facebook an informative article about how budgets are formulated to hire school nurses, counselors, and social workers.


Wisconsin Education Network published a powerful response to Sec. DeVos’ visit of a Milwaukee voucher school during her “Back to School” tour. Schools and Communities United encouraged their membership to attend the Boot Betsy & Her School Privatization Schemes from Milwaukee protest rally this month. Here is a photo from the protest rally. Parents for Public Schools Milwaukee also asked their membership to attend the protest rally to Boot Betsy and Her School Privatization Schemes from Milwaukee.  

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.