PAA traditionally sends a letter to every new Congress to introduce ourselves and share our vision for public education. We’re finally getting around to it this year, a bit late but certainly in time to address the debacle of the Trump-DeVos “parent town hall” a week ago, to which only one public school parent was invited, and the President’s promo of vouchers in his speech to Congress a couple of days ago.
Here’s the letter we just faxed to nearly all of the Congressional reps (some refuse to have a fax…). We attached our position paper on Quality Education and a new fact sheet on the dismal track record of vouchers, which is posted here.
Parent Voices Education Fax
March 1, 2017
Welcome New Congress!
Parents Across America (PAA) congratulates you on your election to the 115th Congress of the United States! The American people have entrusted you with a position of great importance and responsibility.
Of course, the best way to carry out this role effectively is to make sure that you listen carefully to the voices of the people you represent. PAA is a broad network of active public school parents who work together to support and strengthen our nation’s public schools. PAA currently has 50 chapters in 26 states. We are diverse regionally, economically, and culturally, but with a common mission: to assure that all children have access to a high-quality public school education. We wish to offer you our collective wisdom and share with you our concerns about our nation’s precious system of democratic public education. We do this by sending you occasional education-oriented faxes like this one, and by urging our members to be in touch with you.
Our main concerns for the next few years of public education policy making are as follows:
We opposed the appointment of Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary because of her persistent efforts to redirect public education funds to private and religious schools without concern for public accountability. These concerns were underscored by one of her first activities as education secretary – holding a parent “town hall” meeting with an invited panel that included only one public school parent.
We oppose HR 610 which has already been introduced to repeal federal education laws and redirect their funding to school vouchers. Please see the attached update on some worrisome outcomes of voucher programs.
We oppose the continuing gush of federal funds to charter schools despite their mediocre track record, failure to serve special needs, dehumanizing treatment of students in some of the most prominent charter chains, and ever-growing number of financial and other scandals such as those recently exposed about the Turkish Gulen chain.
We oppose the USDE’s reckless push for digital learning which we believe benefits private education marketers at the expense of our children’s privacy, safety and health, and the quality of their education.
Our hope is that you will partner with us to fulfill the true purpose of democratic public education by:
Opposing vouchers, and directing funds to assure that all public schools have sufficient and equitable resources so that every child receives a high-quality education regardless of their background.
Supporting and promoting community-based school improvement, including a stronger parent voice in decision making at the school, district, state, and national levels.
Rolling back the damaging emphasis on standardized testing, promoting fairer, more reliable accountability and assessment practices and affirming parental opt out rights.
Helping parents protect our children from datamining and other negative effects of the misuse and overuse of digital devices and programs in school.
PAA looks forward to continued dialogue with you. Please consider including a PAA representative when convening panels or witnesses to address public education issues. You can reach us at the email address below.
We add to our comments above our attached position paper, “What Makes a Quality Education?”
PAA Interim Executive Director