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 to any other new Senate or House education committee members as they are named.
Why not use this letter to reach out to your own Congressional representatives as they take office? Their contact information is at house.gov and senate.gov.
January 3, 2013
Dear Member of Congress:
Congratulations on your (re-)election! There are so many challenges ahead and we wish you the best as you begin your term. We are a grass-roots network of activist public school parents from all across the U.S. We will be in touch with you regularly to share our concerns and recommendations for ways that the federal government can support and strengthen our cherished public schools so that every child receives a high-quality education.
In brief, Parents Across America supports:
• Sufficient and equitable resources in all public schools, so that every child receives a high-quality education.
• Improving schools rather than closing them, by means of evidence-based solutions backed by parents and other stakeholders.
• Less standardized testing and fairer, more reliable accountability and assessment practices.
• Programs that encourage the retention of professional, experienced teachers.
• A full range of parent involvement opportunities including a stronger parent voice in decision making at the school, district, state, and national levels.
• The right of parents to opt their children out of standardized tests.
• Policies that use standardized test scores as the most important accountability measure for schools, teachers or students, and/or expand the use of standardized testing in our schools.
• Competition for federal funds; a quality education is not a race but a right.
• “Parent trigger” laws, vouchers, charter takeovers or other forms of school privatization that take resources from the schools attended by most students and put them into private hands, with less oversight.
• Limiting federally-mandated school improvement models to a narrow set of strategies, including charter schools and privatization, which are favored by corporate reformers but which have had little verified success.
Our full ESEA reauthorization position paper is available at http://parentsacrossamerica.org/paa-reforming-esea/. We are also very concerned that federal education funding not be cut as budget decisions are made over the next two months. Thank you so much for your time and attention, and for your service to our children and our nation. We look forward to working with you.
Julie Woestehoff, Legislative Chair, Parents Across America
Visit our web site, www.parentsacrossamerica.org.