Platform for Parent and Community Involvement Save Our Schools
Finalized at the People’s Convention August 3-5, 2012

Platform introduction: The Family and Community Involvement committee proposes a platform that commits our nation’s leaders to implement measures that support developmentally appropriate and humane public school experience rooted in democracy, fairness, and excellence. We ask our President, the congressional leadership, the senate, and our nation’s governors to join us in opposing the United States Department of Education’s No Child Left Behind and Race To The Top Polices. Policies many families and communities view as false promises that reward some, and punish others.

We reject policy models that create an atmosphere where community schools are pitted against one other in an unfair competitive and punitive system; where only the strong survive, and the weak are crushed. We reject policy that professes poverty does not matter. We reject policy that outsources our local schools to private entities as being good for families and communities. Our platform rejects the notion that school choice is the answer to school desegregation. We reject the notion that replacing locally elected boards of education with politically appointed ones empowers parents, families, and communities. We propose three platforms we feel are deeply rooted in our SOS Principles.

Our 1, 2, 3 platform

1.. The current NCLB assessment framework fostering state mastery testing measures the academic success of children in a series of single isolated outside measures that fail to accurately measure individual growth. Their measures have little or no input from children, parents, teachers, and local schools. Their measures are cold heartless, and have no court of appeals they are final, and fail to measure growth of the individual child over time. We reject that notion the sole best measure of academic success of any child is a standardized test. We understand that some standardized diagnostic measures are needed for some purposes, but they should be carefully considered by a tea m of professionals, and in consultation with student, and his, or her families.

2. We reject using standardized measure with children from preschool to second grade to measure academic success. We consider such measures inhumane for children in those early childhood grades. We consider such measures as developmentally inappropriate and inhumane. We are deferring to the SOS Early Childhood D.E.Y. Project Committee the right to define and recommend the most humane, appropriate and acceptable assessment measures to use in our nation’s schools for all children under the age of 8 years old.

3. We understand the federal need for accountability beyond grade 2. We propose all 50 states, and U. S. Territories adopt suggest using the NAEP as the single standard measure of school accountability. Using the same scientifically rigorous sampling methodology that tests some each year rather than all. . The NAEP methodology of sampling is rigorous and scientifically valid worldwide in all academic circles. After all our what is good enough for the federal government should be good enough for the sates. We proposed an immediate ending to state mastery testing. We recommend every single dollar being spent on annual mastery testing in all states be immediately reallocated to reducing class size, and the hiring of appropriate specialized staff to work in directly with our children with special needs.

Our action plan

We propose a national collaborative campaign using SOSers and their allies to launch local tours of community listening events that inform, educate, and mobilize parents and communities to advocate for a public school experience that is equitable, developmentally appropriate, and human. SOS has always understood that action requires informing, educating, and rallying the public.

Action step one: quickly organize a new school year campaign of SOSers and their allies that offers alternative screenings of movies with alternative views to the upcoming propaganda movie Won’t Back Down. Alternative screening will provide an invitation to local communities to engage in informative community dialogues on education reforms.

Action Step two: reach out to producers of films such as Teach, The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman, and Race To Nowhere to invite them to participate in community dialogue using their films to stimulate local reform discussions that inform, educate, and offer communities future opportunities to take action. Screening locations will be held in our public libraries, local churches, and schools.

Action Step Three: moving beyond press releases, letters to the editor, and picketing. It is our belief SOS should follow Actions 1 & 2 with constructive community dialogues that help communities develop speak up events where communities can take their case to school boards, legislators, local churches, and stakeholders.