Northeastern affiliates move ahead

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Northeastern PAA affiliates have been working locally, statewide and nationally to promote quality public education, focusing on issues that include high-stakes testing, student privacy, democratic governance and equity.

Their efforts include an exciting upcoming event: QUEST in Boston is cosponsoring a conference on education reform and human rights, entitled “Rethinking Education Reform: A Human Rights Perspective” at the Northeastern University School of Law on November 6 and 7. Julian Vasquez Heilig will keynote. For more information, please visit the event website.

 

Quality Education for Every Student (QUEST)

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/questbps

QUEST is a grassroots parent organization in Boston that was founded to bring a voice for equity to Boston’s 2012 review of elementary and middle school assignment. We’re dedicated to quality, equity and transparency in our education system.

Since our founding we have worked on the following issues: assignment and the related issue of how the city measures a quality school; sufficient and equitable funding; the Boston Mayoral race; the District Superintendent search; facilities and long range capital plans; and defeating legislation aimed at creating more charters and disinvesting from our district public schools.

Moving forward, we expect to continue work on all these issues, especially monitoring the implementation of our new school assignment plan, (paying careful attention to avoiding racial isolation and concentration of poverty) and fighting a likely referendum on charter schools.

 

Save Our Schools NJ

Website:  www.saveourschoolsnj.org

Save Our Schools NJ began in 2010 as a successful effort by a small group of parents to pass a local school budget. It quickly became clear that it will take ongoing organizing across the entire state to ensure that our children’s education is not compromised to political or ideological objectives. Save Our Schools NJ’s goals are to protect and preserve New Jersey’s excellent public schools by keeping the community at large and our legislators informed about issues and legislation that directly impact our children’s education, both locally and at the state level; and establishing a statewide network of individuals willing to let politicians know they support public education.

This past year, we added opposition to high-stakes standardized testing to our policy agenda. We worked with legislators to introduce three bills related to high-stakes testing and saw one of those three pass the NJ Assembly with overwhelming bi-partisan support. The bill, which would delay all punitive aspects of PARCC for two years while an independent commission examined alternatives to high-stakes testing, was poised for an equally strong vote in the NJ Senate but was scuttled by a deal between the Senate President and Governor Christie, who did not want to sign or to veto the bill.

We are continuing to advocate for the other two bills – a ban on K-2 standardized testing and a parental testing bill of rights – and are exploring ways to make it easier for parents who want to opt their children out of testing to be able to do so. We also are continuing to advocate for reforming New Jersey’s charter law to include local democratic control, a requirement of demographic parity with sending districts, and more transparency and accountability. Finally, we are continuing to elevate the voices of parents in politically marginalized communities such as Camden, to ensure that they are not shut down by education deformers or by other powerful political actors.

 

Class Size Matters

Website: classsizematters.org

Blog: nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com

Class Size Matters provides information to parents, school board members and other concerned citizens nationwide on the proven benefits of smaller classes, and advocates for class size reduction and equitable funding in NYC schools.  We regularly brief parent and community groups on this issue, and issued a comprehensive report last year on the increase in class sizes and worsening crisis of overcrowding in NYC schools, called Space Crunch.

Last year, we also spearheaded the successful national battle against inBloom, a $100 million multi-state data repository that was created to collect and share personally identifiable highly sensitive student information without parental consent with for-profit vendors. Thanks to a campaign against those practices, inBloom closed its doors last April. We are now co-chairing a national coalition to restore federal student privacy protections called the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy at www.studentprivacymatters.org .  We are looking for volunteers and new members; please join us.

 

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