» Julie Woestehoff

Incentivizing philanthropy: Walgreen’s gets no bid contract after school gift card giveaway

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  It was only a couple of months ago that Walgreen’s CEO Greg Wasson stood with Mayor Rahm at our old neighborhood school, Field Elementary, to announce the giveaway of $25 Walgreen’s gift cards to parents for picking up their children’s report cards. “This is a way, in my view, of incentivizing responsible parenting,” the Mayor said that day. At the time, I sent this letter to Mayor Emanuel and CEO Wasson, suggesting that there are far better ways to …

Michigan Parents for Schools – story from new PAA affiliate

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Michigan public school supporters have just come out of a bruising lame duck session of the state legislature that promises even greater battles to come next year. I think our experience may be helpful to other states because of the common ideological framework behind all these attacks on public education. You may have heard about some of the damaging, and in come cases bizarre, bills that became law in the last days of the session. Among those which impact education:  …

Welcome new Congress!

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Today is the opening day of the new Congress. A couple of weeks ago, PAA sent a letter to three new Democratic members of the Senate education committee. Today we sent a similar letter to three new Republican members of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, Susan Brooks (R-IN), Luke Messer (R-IN) and Richard Hudson (R-NC) as well as the new chair of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, Todd Rokita (R-IN). We will reach out …

A PAA Welcome to new Senate HELP committee members

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We just e-mailed this letter to Senators-elect Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)  and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who will be new members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee. We will send similar letters to other new members as well as any new members of the House Education and the Workforce committee, as we learn of their appointments. December 20, 2012 Dear Senator-elect: Congratulations on your election! There are so many challenges ahead and we wish you the …

Action of the week for 12-20-12: Welcome your new Senators and Congressmen

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Send a welcome letter to your new Senators and Congressmen! You can use this letter which we just e-mailed to Senators-elect Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)  and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) who will be new members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee. We will send similar letters to other new members as well as any new members of the House Education and the Workforce committee, as we learn of their appointments. December 20, 2012 Dear Senator-elect: Congratulations …

A Connecticut parent’s letter to President Obama

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Parents Across America grieves with the community of Newtown, Connecticut over the loss of their precious children and educators. The following letter, sent yesterday to President Obama from the founder of Parents Across America-CT, expresses some aspects of what many of our members are feeling at this difficult time. Hon. President Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500 Dear President Obama: As a public school parent of three in Stamford, Connecticut, I wanted to thank …

A teacher talks to children about Sandy Hook tragedy

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We share this San Francisco Chronicle story about how teacher Steve Rubenstein, the husband of PAA founding member Caroline Grannan, talked to his students about the Sandy Hook school tragedy: Back at Buena Vista Horace Mann in San Francisco’s Mission District, another teacher, Steve Rubenstein, learned of the tragedy by phone as he and his sixth-graders trooped back to class after seeing a play. A former newspaper reporter, Rubenstein felt it was important for the students to know. He teed it …

Update on Adelanto Parent Trigger status

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Two parent triggers have been deployed in California, total, and there have been no other parent triggers anywhere. Here’s what’s happened in those two cases: McKinley Elementary, Compton, CA Parent Revolution orchestrated this one entirely without the involvement of the parent community. After the petitions were delivered, many parents protested and said they did not want the school to become a charter. Many said they had been told the petitions were to beautify or improve the school. Parent Revolution had …

PAA-Washington letter on new charter school law

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Dec. 5, 2012 To Superintendent Dorn: Parents Across America of Washington State, the local chapters of the national organization dedicated to the preservation of public education, has concluded that Initiative 1240 is in violation of the Washington State Constitution on multiple counts. We therefore urge the Office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to pursue a legal challenge to I-1240, based on the following grounds: 1.      I-1240 would establish a charter school commission comprised of politically appointed members with …

Speak out about the school-to-prison pipeline

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Yesterday, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin convened a hearing on the “school-to-prison pipeline,” a way of describing the way some school policies and practices may simply push students – particularly low-income students and students of color – out of school and into jail. Zero tolerance policies, school closings, high-stakes testing, and other factors contribute to this devastating situation. This was an unprecedented hearing, and, unlike the panels of corporate reformers we more often see gathered to share their positions, this time …