We welcome two special new members to PAA leadership
We are delighted to welcome Nate Harris, a long time parent leader from
|Nate and wife Carrie on a visit to Chicago|
Indianapolis, as an individual member of PAA's leadership group. Nate has been in touch with PAA for quite some time, and attended the 4-state meeting PAA co-sponsored
in Fort Wayne, IN last January.
We are also very excited to welcome Lourdes Perez Ramirez, who is based in Orlando, Florida and is the president and founder of HispanEduca, which is a national education-oriented non-profit organization.
Lourdes has also been in touch with PAA for a while and is getting a new web page up and running to help educate Latino parents about education issues. We are looking forward to a productive partnership with Lourdes and her group.
Meanwhile, please "like" the HispanEduca Facebook page here
Charter school push-back in Seattle
PAA President and founder of PAA-Seattle Dora Taylor writes that a coalition of parents, educators, and community groups has filed a Complaint in King County Superior Court in Seattle challenging the constitutionality of Initiative 1240, Washington's new Charter School Act.
The Complaint asserts that the Charter School Act violates the Washington Constitution by improperly diverting public school funds to private organizations that are not subject to local voter control and by impeding the State's constitutional obligation to amply provide for and fully fund K-12 public education.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit include the League of Women Voters of Washington, El Centro de la Raza, a Seattle-based group dedicated to social justice; the Washington Association of School Administrators, the Washington Education Association, Wayne Au, Ph.D., an educator and education advocate, Pat Braman, a former Mercer Island High School teacher and current Mercer Island School Board member and parents with children in public schools in Snohomish and Spokane Counties.
For more information, go to Washington State Charter School Lawsuit: The Details
More protests over Gulen charter schools
This weekend, hundreds of people from all over the country, mostly Turkish Americans, will travel to Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, to protest Fethullah Gulen at his remote compound in the Poconos. Among other activities, Gulen's followers (a.k.a. the "Gulen Movement") operate a global network of schools, including the largest charter school network.
In conjunction with the Pennsylvania protest on Saturday, July 13, a small protest
will take place at a Gulen Movement-associated charter school in Oakland, California. PAA founder Sharon Higgins will speak at that protest. The following day she will participate in a LaborFest presentation ("Labor, Ideology, Privatization & the Global Struggle for Public Education and Public Services."). Background
On July 10, an Associated Press report about the Pennsylvania protest was picked up by news agencies across the US. A local paper published a more in-depth piece ("Protesters expected at Saylorsburg Islamic center: West End cleric criticized by opponents of Turkish regime." Pocono Record, 7/10/2013). Both articles mention the Facebook page that was created two weeks ago to organize the event.
The Pennsylvania protest is an extension of the Turkish protests that have been drawing international attention since late May. That uprising is against a set of actions and policies of the country's leadership and Islamist-leaning Justice and Development Party (AKP), the ruling party which took power over a decade ago. Fethullah Gulen and his followers are directly connected to the current Turkish regime.
As a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist wrote: "Gülen is considered one of [Turkish Prime Minister] Erdoğan's most powerful allies but is reviled and feared by much of Turkey's population." --- "Letter from Turkey: The Deep State." The New Yorker, 3/12/2013
The conclusion of an American Foreign Policy Council report pointed out: "The charter school experiment has resulted in the United States being the only country in the world where the Gülen Movement has been able to establish schools fully funded by the host country's taxpayers."
Sharon writes, "Having closely followed this situation for more than three years, I am grateful to the Pennsylvania protesters because their efforts will help draw attention to the secretive and extremely controversial Gulen Movement, its questionable and alarming practices, and its involvement in so many publicly-funded charter schools."
PAA Midwest meetings
The PAA-convened meeting of education advocates in Illinois had a great start yesterday with a presentation by long-time journalist and state education policy watcher Jim Broadway, who shared his expertise and some history with the group.
The group plans to meet again to talk about school funding and to consider some joint actions and advocacy.
Last January, PAA co-founder and leader of Chicago affiliate PURE, Julie Woestehoff, helped organize a four-state regional meeting for public school activists in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois. That meeting was quite successful,
and everyone agreed to meet again in July in the same place, Fort Wayne, Indiana, where we were hosted by a very strong group of local advocates, the North East Indiana Friends of Public Education. This meeting is scheduled for Saturday, July 20.
If you are interested in more information about the Fort Wayne meeting, or about the PAA Illinois group, please contact Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org.PAA annual meeting
PAA will hold its annual meeting in Washington DC on July 17-19. This meeting is open to PAA founders and chapter and affiliate leaders only. We are hoping to be able to share the workshops and resources from this meeting with the broader PAA membership soon after the meeting.
If you are a chapter or affiliate leader and have not received information about this meeting, please contact Julie at email@example.com.