» Julie Woestehoff

Schooled by experts: Chicago researchers share some facts about school reform

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This morning I attended an excellent symposium on a variety of education issues presented by CReATE (Chicagoland Researchers and Advocates for Transformative Education), the nearly two-year-old group of 100 Chicago-area academic experts who have already created some excellent resources to help parents, community groups, students and others to better understand the truth about corporate school reform. CReATE’s first effort was a paper called  “Chicago School Reform: Myths, Realities, and New Visions”, which clarified some of the education issues discussed during …

Voters have spoken: No corporate school reform in Bridgeport!

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By Wendy Lecker Originally published on November 18, 2012 in the Stamford Advocate In this age of instantaneous global communication, it is incredible that a simple message sent by voters in Bridgeport has not reached leaders in Hartford, just 50 miles away. On Nov. 6, a rare event in modern politics occurred: democracy prevailed over money. Average citizens defeated a Bridgeport charter revision proposal backed by a veritable who’s who of well-endowed corporate education reformers. This David-vs.-Goliath victory is also …

Stand for Children says Chicago LSCs make parent trigger unnecessary

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I was proud to share the Local School Council model with my co-founders at Parents Across America, and delighted when PAA adopted it as our alternative to the “parent trigger” school privatization mechanism. Unlike charter or private turnaround companies, LSCs have a significant track record of improving schools over time without any extra resources beyond the collaborative efforts of parents, teachers, administrators and community members. Now, to my astonishment, organizers for such pro-privatization groups like Stand for Children and New …

PAA’s 2012 Election Roundup

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2012 Election roundup! Here’s a review of how education issues fared, from our members across the country. Some good news, some not so good, in no particular order. What happened in your neck of the woods? Disclaimer: As a not-for-profit organization, PAA does not endorse candidates; any opinions on specific races in the reports below are those of individual members only.    From Wendy Lecker of Connecticut: The big news in Connecticut is the defeat of the charter revision in …

19th Ward Parents leader on chaos in Chicago Public Schools

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Malone: Privatization plague threatens Chicago Public Schools By Becky Malone Guest Commentary October 26, 2012 (originally published in Daily Southtown newspaper) There is a plague spreading through the Chicago Public Schools. It has left in its wake a score of school closures and school turnarounds, an unfunded longer school day lacking adequate resources to support high-quality education and the first teachers strike in a quarter century — a bitter fight to ensure fair compensation, basic learning materials and adequate staffing …

Join the Campaign for our Schools: Write a letter to President Obama

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Diane Ravitch has issued a call for all of us – parents, teachers, students, administrators, and citizens who care about education, to write letters to our elected representatives, starting with the White House. The deadline to have your letter included is October 17. Write from your heart about your hopes and concerns about education in America. Write about what you see happening in your school. Let President Obama know what you think, before this historic election on November 6. You …

Diane R. goes to Texas

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From PAA founding member Karen Miller: When I found out Diane was speaking at the school board/administrators convention, I asked her if she’d extend her stay and she agreed to remain an extra day.  Lorie (Barzano, of PAA affiliate Coalition-SAUS) did a fantastic job with local arrangements, including a parent/teacher/community meeting at a high school in a low income area subject to takeover.  I’ll let her describe that wonderful event (see below). We worked closely with the school board/administrators associations …

Will the real parents please stand up?

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The following article by Chicago public school parent Wendy Kattan was originally published in Catalyst Magazine. Parents don’t want a “war.” They want a district that’s looking out for all children, that is capable of collaboration and able to hear the views and voices of real parents in the system. By: Wendy Katten / October 1, 2012 Now that the strike is over and parents, students and teachers are finally settling into the routine of the school year, many parents …

Message from PAA to entertainment media about WBD movie

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As hype for the “Won’t Back Down” movie heats up, PAA sent this message to entertainment media: In case you are preparing to interview the stars of the controversial new film “Won’t Back Down,” or review the movie, Parents Across America would like you to be aware of the following facts: 1.       Walden Media which produced the film also co-produced the movie “Waiting for Superman”.  The people at Walden Media have admitted that they had a specific political agenda in …

Parents Across America on HR2218, the “Empowering Parents Through Quality Charter Schools Act”

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Why Public School Parents Oppose H.R. 2218 and Our Recommendations for Improving the Charter School Bill A Parents Across America Position Paper on the “Empowering Parents Through Quality Charter Schools Act” July 5, 2011 Parents Across America (PAA), a grassroots organization representing public school parents from across the United States, opposes the current version of H.R. 2218, the Empowering Parents Through Quality Charter Schools Act, which was recently reported from the House Education and Workforce Committee. PAA is committed to …