to the fifth edition of the NPE News! We have a new Note from Diane,
and some other news of upcoming grassroots activities. Please share
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Note from Diane
News from San Diego, California
Earlier this week, I was in San Diego to speak to the
annual meeting of the National School Boards Association. My message
was this: American public education is not "broken," but
federal education policy is.
Anthony Cody joined me and after my speech, we met with a large
number of teachers from the San Diego public schools and some nearby
We were joined by Richard Barrera, the president of the school board,
Bill Kowba, the superintendent of San Diego schools, Bill Freeman,
president of the San Diego Education Association, incoming
superintendent Cindy Marten, and Dean Vogel, the president of the
California Teachers Association.
(photo shows Bill Freeman, Diane and Cindy Marten)
I was excited to be in San Diego because it has a vision that sets it
apart from the rest of urban America, indeed, from most of the
San Diego has purposefully set out to improve its schools through a
process built on collaboration and trust. There is amazing respect
among the local school board, the administration, and the teachers'
Together they have embarked on what they call community-based school
reform. That means that every school is expected to embrace students,
parents, and the local community and work together on behalf of the
Of course, they take tests, and the scores look good, but the San
Diego Vision is not about data, it's about the children.
Perhaps the most impressive symbol of San Diego's commitment to this
vision was the board's decision to invite Cindy Marten to become the
new superintendent when the current superintendent Bill Kowba steps
Cindy was principal of Central Elementary School, a very successful
high-poverty school, where she implemented a child-centered
community-centered approach. She is respected by her staff and
parents. I met Cindy when I was in San Diego two years ago and toured
Imagine a local school board choosing an experienced educator from
within its own ranks! That is truly innovative!
Let's keep our eyes on San Diego. Their vision of trust,
collaboration, and respect is far superior to NCLB and Race to the
NPE Webinars Guide the Grassroots
Saturday, April 13, activists from the Northeast Indiana Friends of Public
Education presented ideas and advice in a webinar attended by Network
members from all over the country.
shared a wealth of concrete suggestions for ways to educate and
mobilize citizens around education issues. The video of the webinar
can be viewed here.
The next NPE
webinar will focus on student organizing -- see the announcement
NPE Webinar #2: Student Organizing 101
Student Organizing Webinar:
Tuesday, April 30, 8:30 pm Eastern
Featuring student activists Stephanie Riviera, Sarah Smith and Israel
These dynamic students will discuss the ways they have taken action
to affect change around their own educational futures, and provide
suggestions and advice for other students who want to do the
Stephanie is enrolled at Rutgers, and is a founder of Students United
for Public Education. Sarah Smith participated in protests at the
state capital of Wisconsin against Scott Walker, and now attends the
University of and is active in
Israel Muñoz is a high school student in Chicago, active in Chicago
Students Organized to Save Our Schools. He has been involved in the
fight to stop the closing of more than fifty schools there.
Register here . You
will be emailed a link to the webinar a day or two before the
Public Ed is Not For Sale --
but These T-Shirts Are!
to the hundreds of you who offered slogans or voted to help us choose
the best one. The winner of the runoff, with more than 50% of the
vote, was Public Education is Not for Sale!
and parent Angie Villa let us know the schools there need our
have a crisis situation here in Allentown, PA. Our school board has
approved a "worst case scenario" plan of cuts to vital
programs, despite public outcry. What follows is from the Allentown Education Association:
There is a proposed loss of 144 teaching positions. This would be a
total of 350 positions since 2011. There will a loss of over 38 CORE
SUBJECT area positions at both high schools.
Increased class sizes = loss of learning potential
Increased class sizes = discipline issues and safety risks
There will be a loss of related arts at elementary schools.
Music will be "restored" minimally to 2011-2013 levels
(meaning students will only get 9 sessions of music PER YEAR.)
Art, physical education, and library will be cut completely.
ASD plans to OUTSOURCE art lessons.
A Save Our Schools Rally is planned for this Sunday,
April 21, 2-4pm at Cedar Beach Park in Allentown.