This AlterNet article chronicles the Walton Foundation’s $1 billion dollar investment in charter schools. The business approach parallels the Walmart approach of driving out competition and then closing stores that are not financially successful. In the education sector, public schools are to be displaced leaving ‘education deserts’ where charter schools choose not to locate. It is not a pretty picture.
Have you thought about going to Diane Ravitch’s NPE conference this year? I am thinking about it. They will have workshops on community activities to spread the word on improving public education. This is the kind of thing we are doing in Gainesville. Maybe we could all get together and share strategies. Here is a link to the conference announcement.
THE NPE CONFERENCE IS IN RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA APRIL 16, 17
SHARE THE POST WITH THOSE WHO ARE IN THE TRENCHES WITH US!
Can you help us? Can we help you? Shall we get together in Raleigh?
We are working with our PTAs, meeting with legislators, speaking at community organizations, working with school board members, holding forums, writing newspaper articles…..lots of things. We recognize we need to hone our messages so others will listen more carefully. We know we need to listen carefully to others to find common ground.
There is something about standing on the old capital steps on a beautiful day in Tallahassee. The Florida League delegates to the Legislative Summit assembled to hear Senator Nelson not only praise the LWVF’s successful redistricting lawsuit, but also the possibility that a more thoughtful mix of legislators may result. The sunny day, the sense of possibility permeated the air.
Following Senator Nelson, Florida League President Pamela Goodman made a strong statement supporting Florida’s public school system.
The League of Women Voters has issued an ACTION ALERT. Two bills have been filed to amend the Florida Constitution:
HJR 7059 would strip local school district authority to approve charter schools and place the authority in a state controlled charter institute.
HJR 530 would allow cities to withdraw from county school districts and form their own.
We need to OPPOSE these bills. CLICK HERE to see how.
Last week the Alachua County school board faced some harsh realities. The teacher shortage has hit home. We now have long term substitutes for positions we cannot fill. Board members attended the Rally in Tally to support our schools and teachers. They announced that 4,000 people were there.
Perhaps the most hopeful moment at the board meeting came when a parent, Kanh-Lien Banko spoke.
Close to 3,000 public school supporters turned out for the Florida Education Association rally today. It was their largest crowd ever. They were determined to let the legislators know that public schools need support. I was there. I jotted down some slogans.
Here is one that made the crowd cheer:
EDUCATE, ADVOCATE, MOTIVATE!
Another speaker chanted his opposition to the current policy. He called the policy the:
STACK THEM DEEP, TEACH THEM CHEAP approach to education funding.
There were lots of signs. Here are two:
The message was clear. Over and over the crowd chanted: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
The LWVUS has sent out a survey on member topic priorities. You can let them know you care about education by entering it in the response box. See:
There are many ways to be heard. Responding to the DOE webinar and survey is one. Writing your legislators both at the state and national levels is another. Showing up at school board meetings can help. In the end, we will also need the courts.
There is a lawsuit: Citizens for Strong Schools that comes to trial in March. The suit supports public schools based on Florida’s constitutional requirement for a unified, strong, efficient, high quality system. Note the word ‘unified’. The school reform movement advocates privatizing our schools by creating charters and tax credit scholarships to private schools.
Testing is the accountability strategy for school reform.
Southern Legal Counsel is the firm that has filed the Citizen’s for Strong Schools lawsuit. They are operating pro bono. If you can help them raise money to cover expenses, then go to their website. You can donate there. Just click the DONATE button. Any amount can help.
The Florida LWV legislative priorities are coming due. Please make your voices heard within your local leagues. In order to be able to advocate for our Education Team issues, we have to make it into the top priorities statewide.
Make education tops for your local league. Here is a list of topics we expect to come up in the legislative session. Remember that committee meetings start in September.
As you know, Jeb Bush made his mark in Florida with his advocacy for charter schools and vouchers. When the State Supreme Court declared vouchers unconstitutional, they were turned into corporate tax rebate scholarships. The Southern Legal Counsel’s lawsuit against school choice Citizens for Strong Schools comes to trial next spring.
Privatizing schools has turned into big business in Florida. To protect the business interests, legislators are pressured and cajoled. In this report you can see the grades your individual representatives and senators have received from the foundation Jeb Bush created. High grades mean that those legislators are failing our public schools and promoting privatization. Here’s the link to the report.