Work around the nation

Our latest group of affiliate reports comes from around the nation, from Oregon to Michigan to Florida. While these groups are geographically dispersed, they are tackling many of the same issues, emphasizing the need for like-minded parents to work together across the nation.

 

Oregon Save Our Schools (OSOS)

Website:  oregonsaveourschools.blogspot.com

We are a group of committed community members that want to provide a quality and equitable education for all students in the state of Oregon. We are founded on the four principles of the National Save Our Schools Movement. We have no financial backers or interests.

Some of this year’s activities (more detailed accounts can be found in website blog entries):

  • Testifying at state education board meetings more often than all other groups put together.
  • Taking the lead in opposing the state longitudinal database.
  • Leading the protests against the Oregon Business Association and their education policies.
  • Maintaining the state’s most sought after educational Facebook page and a website which informs people about local, state and national issues. The website includes position papers on Common Core and strategies to bridge the achievement gap.
  • Helping to sponsor and promote events that have brought outstanding educational speakers to Portland.
  • Developing a working relationship of mutual support with several organizations fighting for social justice.
  • Speaking up for good education and against the corporate reform agenda at education meetings in the Portland area, across the state, and nationally.
  • Publishing numerous articles in newspapers, blogs and social media that have strengthened the stand against corporate education reform.
  • Creating a Oregon SOS youtube channel.

We are striving to become better organized and proactive in the upcoming year. We will continue with ongoing projects and attempt to work on legislative measures that favor equity, student data privacy, less emphasis on high-stakes testing, and fully funding k-12 education.

 

Michigan Parents for Schools

Website: mipfs.org

Michigan Parents for Schools is a statewide public interest advocacy group working to support and strengthen community-governed public schools in our state. We formed in 2007 in an effort to unify parents from around the state to support adequate and stable funding for our local public schools. Since then, as the attack on community-governed public education has expanded, we have expanded our activities to protect and rebuild support for local public schools. We engage in both grass-roots advocacy (with about 5,000 activist parents state-wide) and direct issue advocacy in the state capital. In addition to our lobbying work, we engage with local parent groups to help them organize and become constructive partners in the effort to strengthen all our public schools.

We also work to change the current public discourse about public education and remind our fellow citizens of the value of public education to our communities and the reasons why we need public schools that are accountable to and governed by the public. In the 2013-14 legislative session, our work focused on perennial school aid budget issues and efforts to build constructive systems to help academically struggling schools and districts. We worked with a broad coalition to stop legislation that would create a state-wide school “takeover district” with the power to absorb individual schools with persistently low test scores and to create new charter schools, all without any public accountability. We were a central participant in efforts to expose the problems in the Education Achievement Authority in Detroit, which was doing great damage to the children in 15 Detroit schools. We also worked directly with key lawmakers to draft alternative legislation that would provide a better way of helping struggling schools and districts by giving locals the tools and support they need to make real change.

MIPFS board members continued our outreach efforts to local parent groups, mostly in Southeast and Western Michigan, helping local communities understand Michigan’s complex school funding system and how other current and proposed laws would affect local public schools. We presented to groups of local school board members and administrators on how best to engage their communities in advocacy efforts. Finally, we were invited by the State Board of Education to present a parent proposal for how schools should be organized and funded in Michigan.

Over the next year, we intend to continue our work for adequate and equitable funding, including measures which would keep local districts from being harmed by the expansion of charter schools. We will work to get our bill on assistance for struggling schools a fair hearing in the legislature. We anticipate that a number of problematic bills will come to the fore during the year-end “lame duck” session of the legislature, including bills to hold back children with low reading scores (with no support for intervention), apply a simplistic letter-grade system to the state’s schools based solely on test scores, and a huge bill package that would create detailed state requirements for teacher and administrator evaluation – much of which would still be based only on standardized test scores. How the 2015-16 legislative session will look will depend heavily on the outcome of the November 2014 mid-term elections, with both houses of the legislature and the governor’s office in play. We are also working to expand our outreach efforts to parent groups around the state.

 

HispanEduca

Website: hispaneduca.org

HispanEduca is a 501(3)(c) nonprofit, education advocacy  organization based in Florida. Our main purpose is to educate Hispanic parents on education policy and reform issues that affect Hispanic students all over the nation.

HispanEduca’s origins date back to 2009 in Iowa, as a project to help Hispanic parents bridge the divide between them and their children’s schools. The project was called HELPP (Hispanic Education and Learning Parents Program) created based on the social theory known as filial theory.

We trained Hispanic parents who showed leadership skills to become comadres and compadres (godmothers and godfathers), a relationship  that is very different among  Hispanics because these comadres are linked by kinship roles and by strong relationships among friends and family members.  By using homophily (listening to similar), HELPP trained the comadres and compadres (figures of trust among Hispanic parents) who in turn trained other parents, thus creating a chain of trusted parents who could represent other parents at school. We did all this without a single penny from funders or donors.

When HispanEduca was created in Florida, HELPP was incorporated into one of the services provided by  HispanEduca to schools upon request. HispanEduca continues to be a strong voice advocating for Hispanic students’ education rights and opportunities as well as educating parents via local and social media. We serve approximately 15 parents on a monthly basis who ask HispanEduca to be their ears and voice at schools and at meetings with Florida’s legislators and congressional representatives.

In the last three years, HispanEduca has become an active member of Central Florida’s education advocacy groups, supporting groups such as Opt Out Orlando (and United Opt Out), SOS,  Florida New Majority,  Latino Access, and  AutismNow, among others.

We are involved in a series of new projects for the coming year. The latest is a new group formed by Hispanic educators, lawyers, activists and parents to evaluate, address and suggest new education policies and reforms that address the opportunity gap that is literally leaving Hispanic students behind in the state of Florida. In terms of policy, we are advocating for a very different mode of bilingual education policy than that currently in place. We are also working to establish new procedures and protocols to manage students with autism in the state of Florida.

On a national level  HispanEduca has been invited to create a program dedicated to addressing education issues that affect Hispanic students and parents. In 2015, HispanEduca’s founder and CEO will co-host a Central Florida program focused on those issues.

 

 

 

 

Posted on by pagrundy Posted in Misc

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