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Welcome to the first edition of the NPE News! We plan to send you regular news of the work we are doing, and ways that you can get involved. We hope to build connections and awareness as we grow.
Note from Diane
We Will Stand Up to the Billionaires
The organizers of the Network for Public Education are thrilled by the wonderful response from parents, teachers, students, and concerned citizens who have joined us as members and allies.
We received excellent press coverage, and the word of our existence is
spreading across the nation.
We will help grassroots groups connect to other grassroots groups.
We will identify education bloggers across the nation.
We exist to amplify their message and to give them moral support.
In the coming months, we will provide information and research to help
friends of public education support their community schools.
We expect to offer a variety of activities that call upon the talents
of the many people who have volunteered their help.
Every member of our group is an unpaid volunteer. We have no paid staff.
Our website was created by volunteers. Our press release was written
Our members are real members who pay dues to join, not people duped
into signing a phony petition drive for "great teachers."
We will stand together with our friends and allies whenever and
wherever public schools and their educators are threatened.
We will stand up to the billionaires who are trying to control and
privatize our schools.
Thank you for joining with us.
NPE Survey: Where Should We Focus?
Our new organization has been greeted with great enthusiasm. Finally, a way to push together for positive change in our schools. We need to find our from you, our supporters, activists and members, what you feel the most urgent issues are in your communities, and the projects that should be our top priorities. This survey provides that opportunity, and also the chance to volunteer on the projects that might excite you. Click here to take the survey
Building the NPE Website
A Grassroots Gathering Place
We created the Network for Public Education as a way of connecting groups and individuals around the country who are devoted to preserving public education. This is no small task. We're up against a well-funded corporate reform movement that's waging a slick PR campaign based on misleading information and junk science. But while they may have the billionaires, we have something far more powerful: the authentic voices of teachers, parents and students who understand that public education is a pillar of our democracy.
The NPE website
will be at the very center of our efforts. In a matter of weeks, an all-volunteer team has begun to create a site that can function as a clearing house for public education advocates. With the help of our network of academic experts, we're pulling together reliable, easy-to-use fact sheets on all of today's essential education issues. With regular news alerts, we'll make sure you stay up-to-date on the latest developments. We're also drawing upon the experience of grassroots activists across the country to create toolkits that you can use in your own communities. Want to know how to dig for essential information using public records
? Need help setting up a grassroots organization
Our hope is that the website becomes a hub, bringing together public education supporters wherever they are. Organizations that affiliate with NFPE, along with education bloggers across the country, will appear on a map so that you can easily connect with advocates near you. We're also creating a network of regional correspondents: people just like you who are reporting on what's happening to public education in their communities-and what they're doing to fight back. If you would like to be a regional correspondent, send an email describing what you would like to report on to this address: email@example.com.
We can't do any of this without you. Our movement is entirely people-powered. We are working teachers and professors, students with full course loads, parents taking care of our children, and concerned citizens navigating our way through a changing world. We need your enthusiasm, your stories and your expertise.Our webmaster is a teacher in Rhode Island, Rob Perry, and the team includes the inimitable Edushyster and Jonathan Pelto. See you at www.networkforpubliceducation.org
NPE Twitter and Facebook Take Off
Social Media is Key to Our Movement
Our network does not have billionaires writing us checks to buy TV ads. We rely on free (or nearly free) social media. Twitter and Facebook are both valuable avenues of communication. Our NPE Facebook page now has more than 2200 likes, and is a lively place with frequent updates of the latest news and analysis. And our NPE Twitter feed now has about 1300 followers, and is another good source for information. Please join us, and share these places with your friends.
NPE Launch Hits the News
Bloggers also joined in welcoming our project. "Yo Miz" Elizabeth Rose's Blog
said, "... it's a happy day for the people who want to preserve free public education, local control and the end of high stakes standardized testing." The Politics K12 Blog at EdWeek also shared the news. NPE cofounders Diane Ravitch and Anthony Cody were also interviewed on the podcast @The ChalkFace.
New Activist Toolkits
Advice on How to Form a Grassroots Group, Investigate Corruption
The Network for Public Education is about empowering YOU to make a difference in your community.
Our website now features a new section, which will grow in the weeks to come. The first Toolkit comes from our allies in Indiana, the Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education, which formed just two years ago, and was instrumental in helping teacher Glenda Ritz win her election as State Superintendent of Schools. They offer this guide, How to Start your Own Grassroots Group.
Our second guide comes from professional investigator Michael Corwin, who recently uncovered corruption in New Mexico. He has written a guide called "How to Dig for Information," which gives ordinary citizens the tools to follow the money that is often driving corporate education "reform." This is the first of a multi-part series.
Report from Alabama
A Perfect Storm of Corporate Reform
One of the regular features of the NPE web site will be regular reports from regional correspondents. To kick this off, one of NPE's director's, Larry Lee, has written a description of the sorry state of affairs in his home state of Alabama. Please read his report here.
Illinois Attempts to Pull the Parent Trigger
Substance News alerts us to an attempt by Illinois legislator to introduce a "Parent Trigger" law there. This allows a one-time vote by parents to permanently turn a public school over to charter operators. Read more here.
Providence Student Union Gives a Test
Legislators, Professors on the Receiving End
In Rhode Island, high school seniors must now earn a passing score on the New England Common Assessment Program test, in spite of the fact that this test was not designed for this purpose.
A press release explains the event the Providence Student Union has planned for tomorrow.
"To lend a deeper perspective to the debate over Rhode Island's new high-stakes testing diploma system, members of the Providence Student Union (PSU) have invited community leaders and policy makers to put themselves in students' shoes and take a shortened version of the NECAP exam that is now being used as a make-or-break graduation requirement for the state's young people. Currently 40 state senators, state representatives, city council members, school board members, non-profit directors, lawyers, reporters, and education officials are planning to participate in this student-administered, student-proctored event. This event will happen on at 12:15 pm, Saturday, March 16th, at Knight Memorial Library, 275 Elmwood Avenue, Providence, Rhode Island."
We are excited about this initiative by these students, and look forward to more creative actions bringing attention to the harmful effects of high stakes tests.
Please forward this newsletter far and wide!
The Network For Public Education