» Julie Woestehoff

PSAT for 9-6-11: Commit to valuing all children

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Today is the traditional first day of school across the US. That tradition has eroded in many places due to so-called year-round school schedules, experiments like Paul Vallas’s short-term effort to game state tests by adding a few weeks in at the beginning of the school year, and a host of local variables. Another tradition that seems to have eroded (if it ever truly existed) is that of valuing all children. These days, politicians and media types are boldly yammering …

Next target of ed "reformers" – democracy

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“Reformers” next target: “one-size-fits-all” democracy Now that they’ve had some success destroying public education, the school reform privateers are setting their sights on something even more precious and fundamental to our nation – our democracy. You see, democracy is “messy” and “one-size-fits-all” and has a pesky habit of getting in the way of even more mega profits and oligarchic* control, which the Bill Gateses and Eli Broads feel is their due. Last week, former Chicago Tribune honcho James Warren wrote …

PSAT for 8-23-11: Twitter Arne

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From the USDE: The Department of Education announced today that Secretary Arne Duncan will participate in the first-ever #AskArne Twitter Town Hall on August 24, 2011 at 1:30 p.m. EDT. Veteran education journalist John Merrow will moderate the town hall that will also be broadcast live on ED’s ustream channel. Twitter users can submit questions to the Secretary using the hashtag #AskArne. #### For Public Schools Action Tuesday today, why not send in a question for Arne? In addition to …

PSAT for 8-2-11: Take the Matt Damon test

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Are you as well-informed about education issues as Matt Damon? Check out his interview with Gotham Schools here and his SOS March speech here. Did you know all that? Why is he so smart about school issues? Well, apparently he’s actually really smart. Also, he has a smart mom who is a professor of early childhood education and hangs around with Diane Ravitch. But all of us can get smart, and we have started hanging around with Diane R., too, …

The sun shone, the stars came out for the SOS march

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After two days of movement-building speeches, workshops, and networking, the SOS march ended with a sun- and passion-drenched rally and march in the middle of Washington DC. It felt like a huge family reunion. Parents Across America was well-represented. It was so much fun to see our members meeting up with their friends from home. We even had star power – Pedro Noguera, Deb Meier, Angela Valenzuela, Diane Ravitch and, yes, Matt Damon, whose mother, Nancy Carlson Page, a professor …

News flash from the SOS March in DC- Parents are powerful!

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PAA had 20 members on Capitol Hill Thursday, talking to Senators and Congressmen from across the nation. Some PAA members also presented a workshop on PAA and some of our issues including testing and charter schools, with great results. Today started off with a fantastic keynote speech by Diane Ravitch and another PAA workshop, this one on what’s wrong with ESEA and the strategies promoted by Race to the Top, and what we need instead – small class size, different …

Can't go to the SOS March? Here's what you can do instead!

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Thousands of people will be converging on Washington, DC this week to speak out in support of our schools at the Save Our Schools March and National Call to Action. Parents Across America members will be out in full force all week! On Thursday we’re presenting the first of three workshops on “The New Parent Involvement,” and we’ll be meeting with members of Congress. We have packets prepared for them with the PAA position papers on ESEA reauthorization and on …

Portland struggles with SFC scandal – Colorado braces for SFC invasion

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Posted by Julie Woestehoff – PURE, Chicago For a small city, Portland OR is dealing with a big dust-up – the Stand for Children scandal. SFC originated in Portland, and was respected and popular among parents as a strong advocate for fair school funding and other important school supports until it was hijacked by the corporate school “reformers.” Yesterday, the Portland Tribune reported on the coincidental timing of an essay by disaffected SFC-Portland parent leader Susan Barrett, which was posted …

Jonah Edelman and the Illinois Way: Model for the nation??

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We in Illinois have just convicted yet another Illinois governor. This one was a Democrat. The last one was a Republican. We need to realize that it’s not about political party these days, it’s only – and completely – about who’s buying. Makes the Tea Partiers seem like they’re on to something, doesn’t it? In case you’re not already convinced that our state legislature is a disaster, or you think Blagojevich was just an aberration. read this transcript prepared by …

Chicago parking meters funding charter school

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I’ve hated those &#@% Chicago parking meters ever since Mayor Daley privatized them and I got a $50 ticket on Mothers’ Day 2010. It was right after the new system was installed across the street from my church (no signs up – and the hours for the meter were changed over the weekend). So, now I read that Chicago Parking Meters –the company that Mayor Daley sold us out to — recently gave a $10,000 gift to a charter high …