Public education advocacy groups work hard to organize and motivate regular citizens to talk to legislators about the damage that the current corporate ed-reform agenda has caused, but it seems that many school boards don’t see the importance of speaking up or are too afraid to push back against those destructive policies.
Some board members even disparage the value of passing resolutions, calling them mere publicity stunts.
As William Phillis, of Ohio E & A, wrote, “The Governor and the 131st General Assembly will not put an end to the charter debacle until the public becomes completely aware of this fraud on the taxpayers and students and reacts to it.” http://conta.cc/1QvWgAK
Boards of education can create public awareness by passing official resolutions to draw attention to charter school “chicanery” in our state.
Earlier this year, Public Education Partners and other grassroots groups tracked the Ohio school districts that passed resolutions against the Youngstown School Takeover Plan (HB 70), and the activists made a big deal of it on social media. There were more than 25 school boards (out of about 700 districts) that passed the resolution, and then it seemed to lose momentum.
Public Education Partners board member Bill Phillis has continued to encourage anti-HB70 resolutions. http://conta.cc/1MZbrAj
Some school boards have begun by passing resolutions stating that Ohio must fund charter schools in a way that no longer penalizes local public schools. Public Education Partners showed school district residents how to keep it simple for their school board members by asking them to use the following template, which was posted on its Facebook page with a red EASY button. http://knowyourcharter.com/files/2015/11/CHARTER-FUNDING-RESOLUTION-Final.pdf
Many boards of education have followed suit by passing that resolution, as well as others invoicing the state for all of their district money diverted to charter schools for the past 10-15 years.
Those brave BOE members have received media exposure for their efforts, including an article in the Washington Post, but more school district boards need to keep the momentum flowing. A campaign was emailed to over 600 public education activists, and the campaign was also posted on this Blog. http://wp.me/p6Rd0n-N
Public Education Partners has heard from several Ohioans who have attended school board meetings and asked for resolutions to be passed and bills to be sent to ODE. So far, Woodridge, Logan-Hocking, Troy, Elyria, Parma, West Clermont, Cardinal, Keystone, Northmont, Jackson, Streetsboro, Firelands, Bowling Green, Belpre, LaBrae, Southington, Beaver, Northridge, Lake, Claymont, Southern, Indian Creek, Green, Garaway, Xenia, Noble, Adena, Gallipolis, Oak Hills, Monroe, Liberty Union – Thurston, Tuscarawas Valley, Amherst, and Huron Schools have joined a growing number of Ohio school systems that passed resolutions to invoice ODE for their share of district funding that’s diverted to the state’s failing charter school system.
Public Education Partners is also asking people to persuade their local school boards, as well as their public education advocacy organizations, to send resolutions to Arne Duncan and the USDOE, asking them to withhold the Ohio Charter School Grant funds pending an independent and thorough investigation of ODE practices. Individuals are encouraged to copy, paste, edit, and send the resolution to Duncan as well. http://wp.me/p6Rd0n-U
Don’t be put off if someone tells you that passing any of these important school board resolutions is meaningless. It’s so easy for some school administrators to dismiss the idea of passing resolutions as symbolic gestures or publicity stunts.
How is this action any different than publicizing the hours, money, and training spent on testing each year? Or the many articles and pictures of children fretting over tests? Those facts, as well as comments from their stressed-out children, motivated PARENTS to push elected leaders to begin making changes in high-stakes testing practices and policies.
As previously stated, the Governor and his legislators will not put an end to Ohio’s charter school mess until the public becomes aware of this fraud and reacts to it.
Expose Ohio elected officials for their inexcusable charter school failure, and help things change for the better. This fiasco must not be ignored any longer.
Join the revolution, and pass a resolution!
We are many. There is power in our numbers. Together we will save PUBLIC EDUCATION.