Friends of Public Education, Be Heard

Dear Friends of Public Education,

Every day, dedicated individuals steeped in rich local and historical perspective write about what is happening to our public education system. Parents share their observations about inequities parading as innovative “solutions.” Teachers give witness to school reform initiatives that have negatively affected students. Academics devote years of research to be able to offer perspective and empirical data to improve educational decisions for the future. Yet, on morning TV, only business leaders, charter school operators, and politicians are asked to speak as authorities while precious few educators or school community members are asked to provide grounded perspectives about the schools they know so well.

Broad ignorance about our current educational policy is sustained by the purposeful seeding of misinformation from narrow interest groups, as well as a general lack of organization and dialogue among educators and school community members. Public school advocates can continue to work hard in relative isolation and comment on each other’s blogs, but this will not move us forward nationally. Sadly, we have no real allies in either political party. We must take collective action now because the stakes could not be higher.

Our frustration at misguided conversation about public education has provided inspiration for this year’s SOS Convention. The convention objective is to build a united front against national and state policies that are harming our children, parents, teachers, local schools, and diverse communities. Our goal is to develop a series of documents that will shape a new response to NCLB/RTT and other policies that seek to privatize America’s public school system.

We don’t need another “preach to the choir” event. We are planning a convention that is geared toward active myth-busting that will produce a “one vision, many voices” document to be shared with politicians and citizens alike. The voices needed in this document must be numerous, and that’s where your expertise will come in. Our first step is to ask you to compile background information that exposes “myths” in any of nine key areas that are helping to sustain the negative educational policy of this nation. The nine key areas are listed below.

Please invite other individuals or organizations to submit their documents so we have the widest range of ideas/expertise and information available. Collectively and individually, we can support each other by changing the narrative, and, ultimately the course we’re heading toward in American public education. Help us coordinate and collect our ideas so we can lead the country together. More specifics on how you can volunteer are below.

Writing Instructions

We have selected nine key areas below that impact national and state education practice and policy. A few ideas are offered as thought starters beneath each area. Please craft a 3-4 page paper that addresses the prompts below. All submissions are intended for a general public audience so please write accordingly. This means that if you have an academic document to contribute, provide a link to the original document but we’d like a translation too.

Submissions should follow these prompts.

  • What are the myths that currently drive public debate in this area?
  • What are some facts that challenge these myths?
  • What are the implied assumptions that help fuel these myths?
  • What public policy currently harms (or could help) this area?
  • What action plans could we coordinate as concerned citizens?

Include your name, organization, email, phone numbers, and key educational are in your paper and submit it to our Save Our Schools Convention Coordinator Becky Smith,

Key Educational Areas

  • Civil Rights/ Poverty
  • Curriculum/ Assessment
  • Early Childhood Education
  • School Accountability
  • Parent/ Community Involvement
  • Organized Labor/ Professional Organizations
  • Policy
  • Student Voice
  • Teacher Preparation, Development, Evaluation

At our August 3rd-5th convention in D.C. we will work together to finalize the nine summaries. These summaries will serve as common narrative to be moved toward plank development intended for the Republican and Democratic conventions that follow.

We thank you for standing up, and speaking out as a friend to public education.