A PAA Welcome to new Senate HELP committee members

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 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.

PAA opposes:

• 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 end-of-year budget decisions are made. 

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.

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