» Julie Woestehoff

School closing controversy in Chicago

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PAA co-founder Julie Woestehoff was quoted in several newspaper stories (Chicago Tribune here, Sun-Times here) about Mayor Emanuel’s proposal to push a school closing announcement deadline back several months. Emanuel wants to close as many as 100 Chicago schools in 2013. The Tribune editorial board, which usually takes the corporate reform side, quoted a PURE blog post in agreeing with PURE’s opposition to the mayor’s plan. Unfortunately, the state legislature handed Emanuel the extension today, Julie reports.

More tests, more parents opting out: radio interview includes PAA’s Julie Woestehoff

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Local Chicago NPR station interviewed PAA co-founder Julie Woestehoff of PAA affiliate PURE for a story about parents opting out of testing in the city. The story highlighted the resources PURE offers to parents concerned about excessive testing in the schools.

“Educate All Kids Like Sasha and Malia” by PAA co-founder Leonie Haimson

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“Obama’s education policies are failing children, except for his own,” writes PAA co-founder Leonie Haimson, of NYC’s Class Size Matters, in an essay published by In These Times. Leonie writes: Rather than follow blindly in the path of privatization and unleashed free-market competition that led to the collapse of our economy, it’s time for Obama to start listening to the priorities of parents and treating teachers as professionals. Cramming kids into classes of 30 or more and putting them on …

PAA-CT leader’s article on Washington Post Answer Sheet

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This excellent piece on school funding was co-written by PAA-CT founder Wendy Lecker and reposted on the Washington Post Answer Sheet blog. Here’s a quote: In Connecticut and nationally, courts have consistently ruled that underfunded schools amount to constitutional violations of children’s right to an education. In New York, Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, Washington and many other states, courts determined that there is a causal connection between students’ poor performance and inadequate school funding. Unlike the modern corporate education reformers, who …

Action of the week for 11-29-12: No “Cliff”hanger for our children!

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Congress and the White House are working to resolve the “sequestration” threat set up by their failure to agree on a federal budget last year. Without a budget agreement, massive across-the-board program cuts will kick in. This may include: Loss of 100,000 Head Start slots. * Service cuts to 500,000 special needs students. * An end to Title 1 grants, affecting 2 million students. * Huge class size increases and service cuts as districts are forced to terminate tens of …

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 …