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was announced today.   If you care about saving public education from privatization, from the so-called "reformers" like Jeb Bush and Michelle Rhee, the corporatizers like Joel Klein, this is an organization you should join and support.

Allow me to quote in full their Mission:

The Network for Public Education is an advocacy group whose goal is to fight to protect, preserve and strengthen our public school system, an essential institution in a democratic society. Our mission is to protect, preserve, promote, and strengthen public schools and the education of current and future generations of students. We will accomplish this by networking groups and organizations focused on similar goals in states and districts throughout the nation, share information about what works and what doesn’t work in public education, and endorse and rate candidates for office based on our principles and goals. More specifically, we will support candidates who oppose high-stakes testing, mass school closures, the privatization of our public schools and the outsourcing of its core functions to for-profit corporations, and we will support candidates who work for evidence-based reforms that will improve our schools and the education of our nation’s children.
Please keep reading.

You can read in detail about the Network at their webstie.  Perhaps it might help if you read about the officers:

President:  Diane Ravitch, America's most important educational historian, and a former Assistant Secretary in the US Department of Education

Secretary:  Robin Hiller, Executive Director of Voice for Education, who founded that organization as a parent to include the voices of parents in the making of policy, and who has extensive work experience in politics

Treasurer:  Anthony Cody, who taught science for 18 years in Oakland CA, served as an academic coach for other teachers, and is a regular blogger on education for Education Week / Teacher

Director: Phyllis Bush, a retired English teacher and grandmother who has become very involved in trying to protect Indiana public schools, and who wrote for an organization that played a major role in the upset election of a former teacher as Indiana's Superintendent of Public Instruction

Director: Leonie Haimson, Executive Director of Class Size Matters and co-founder of Parents Across America

Director:  Julian Vasquez Heilig, a professor of education policy and other subjects at University of Texas, Austin, whose primary work considers the student achievement and progress in relation to accountability policies

Director: Larry Lee, whose last position before retiring was Director of the Center for Rural Alabama where he coordinated an extensive study of high-performing, high-poverty rural schools

Director: Renee Moore, who teaches English at Mississippi Delta Community College, who was that state's teacher of the year in 2001, and who serves on the Board of Directors of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards

A couple of other notes.  I have prior connections and personal and professional relationships with a number of these people.  Anthony Cody was one of the organizers of the 2011 Save our Schools March and National Call to Action, as was I  (Phyllis Bush and Leonie Haimson both attended that event).  Renee Moore is a member of the Teacher Leaders Network, as am I, and she also attended the Save Our Schools March.  I have worked with Diane Ravitch on a number of issues, going back to interviewing her for a project in 2001, and including writing a review of her blockbuster book of a few years back. She was a key speaker at the Save Our Schools March.

This effort is unlike other efforts.  It is explicitly political, because politics is how educational policy is controlled.  In that sense even though a number of us have connections with Save Our Schools (which is an ongoing organization) we do not see this as being at cross-purposes.

I did say "we."  I am a contributing member and intend to help this group in any way I can.

People may not realize how much momentum there now is in pushing back at what has been happening to America's public schools.  Politically consider just the following recent events:

In November, in Indiana, Glenda Ritz, a 33 year teacher, defeated incumbent "reformer" Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett, drawing more votes than did the incoming Governor.

This past Tuesday, in school board elections in Los Angeles, incumbent board member an former teacher Steve Zimmer held on to his seat despite millions dumped into the race on behalf of his opponent from the likes of News Corp, Joel Klein, Michael Bloomberg, and others  (Bloomberg gave $1 million to support the candidates of a coalition supporting the positions of the current superintendent, that coalition including Zimmer's opponent).  

And in a race for the school board West Sacramento, National Board Certified Teacher Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez won a hard-found election to fill a vacancy, beating a man who works for Michelle Rhee's StudentsFirst.

Let me conclude by offering the text of the press release announcing the group, but removing the contact information -  you can go to the website to be in touch with the group, or if you are interested in getting very involved, contact me through kos mail and I will pass your information on to the appropriate people.

             National group led by Diane Ravitch launches; will support candidates

                          working to preserve and strengthen public schools

For Immediate Release

March 7, 2013

Contacts:

Anthony Cody, XXxxxxxxxXXXX

Leonie Haimson, XXXxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Today marks the public launch of a new network devoted to the defense and improvement of public education in the US. Led by renowned education historian, Diane Ravitch, the Network for Public Education will bring together grassroots activists and organizations from around the country, and endorse candidates for office, with the common goal of protecting and strengthening our public schools.

Diane Ravitch said, “The Network for Public Education will give voice to the millions of parents, educators, and other citizens who are fed up with corporate-style reform. We believe in community-based reform, strengthening our schools instead of closing them, respecting our teachers and principals instead of berating them, educating our children instead of constantly testing them. Our public schools are an essential democratic institution. We look forward to working with friends and allies in every state and school district who want to preserve and improve public education for future generations.”

Her post launching the group is here: http://dianeravitch.net/...

Our nation’s schools are at a crossroads.  Wealthy individuals are pouring unprecedented amounts of money into state and local school board races, often into places where they do not reside, to elect candidates intent on undermining and privatizing our public schools. The Network for Public Education will collaborate with other groups and organizations to strengthen our public schools in states and districts throughout the nation, share information and research about what works and what doesn’t work, and endorse and grade candidates based on our shared commitment to the well-being of our children, our society, and our public schools. We will help candidates who work for evidence-based reforms and who oppose high-stakes testing, mass school closures, the privatization of our public schools and the outsourcing of core academic functions to for-profit corporations.

Renee Moore, former Mississippi Teacher of the Year, said, “One of the greatest gifts the U.S. has given to the world is the promise of quality public education. It is also an unfulfilled promise. Public education is a critical part of America's legacy, and the key to our future. We must defend and constantly improve it.”

According to Anthony Cody, retired California teacher and columnist for Education Week: “As a teacher in Oakland I saw the effects of our obsession with tests first hand. Our students are learning less, and losing the chance to think for themselves as we put more and more pressure on them to perform well on tests. It is time for the millions of us who know better to challenge those who have put our schools on this path. This Network will allow us to learn from and support one another as we push for real school change.”

Leonie Haimson, NYC parent advocate and head of Class Size Matters, said: “With all the billionaire cash trying to buy elections, we need to amass people power to ensure that individuals who care about preserving and strengthening our public schools are elected to positions of power.  As the recent Los Angeles school board election shows, when we are organized we can overcome the forces of the privateers and the profiteers, intent on pillaging and dismantling our public schools.”

According to Arizona parent activist and director of Voices for Education, Robin Hiller: “No school was ever improved by closing it. Every community should have good public schools, and we believe that public officials have a solemn responsibility to improve public schools, not close or privatize them.”

Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig of the University of Texas stated “This new network will seek to empower communities nationwide to unite to be more influential than the powerful. The network will also be an important vehicle for the latest data and research on the strengths and weaknesses of reform fads espoused by a multitude of talking heads.”

Phyllis Bush, a retired teacher from Indiana, said “Public schools are under assault in this country.  Now more than ever it is imperative that concerned citizens unite to save the public school system.  Our group, Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education, and other grassroots groups helped to elect Glenda Ritz to become our Superintendent of Public Instruction, a huge victory against rampant and destructive education policies.  With the creation of the Network for Public Education, we will reach out to others across the nation to fulfill the promise of public education.”

Added board member and Alabama education activist Larry Lee, “From my view, a lot more "ed reform" is because of the love of money, not the love of children.  The result is that kids have become a very poor rope in a political tug of war.  The only way to turn this tide is with the collective voices of the American public saying, ‘Enough is enough.’”

The Network invites individuals to join as members and other organizations to become allies, to fight with us to preserve and strengthen our public schools.

The group's website is http://www.networkforpubliceducation.org

the Twitter feed is at https://twitter.com/...

and it can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/...

Originally posted to teacherken on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 01:17 PM PST.

Also republished by Education Alternatives and Teachers Lounge.

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