Friday, April 19, 2013

Grassroot organizing activities to support public education #edujustice

Volume 1, Issue: #5
April 18, 2013

In This Issue

Student Organizing Webinar April 30

Welcome 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 this newsletter with friends, so we can build our network of those working to support our schools. If you would like to make a donation, or become a member, you can do so here. And don't forget to "like us" on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter!

Note from Diane
Good News from San Diego, California
Dear Friends,

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 districts.

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 nation.

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' union.

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 students

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 down.

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 her school.

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 Top.


NPE Webinars Guide the Grassroots 

On 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.  
They 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 below. 

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 Munoz.

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 same.

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 event. 

Public Ed is Not For Sale --
but These T-Shirts Are!

Thanks 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!  

Please go here to our new store.Proceeds will support the cause.

Action Alert from Allentown, PA 

Teacher and parent Angie Villa let us know the schools there need our support.
We 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.

Read more here.

Please forward this newsletter far and wide! 

In solidarity,

NPE sq
The Network For Public Education

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