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In preparation for the Parents Across America Annual Meeting which will be held in DC next month, a list of priorities have been determined by the board and will be presented to our elected representatives when we meet with them in August.
I want to share our list with Seattle Education readers because it is succinct and to the point. Please use these talking points when meeting with your elected officials whether they are school board members, city, district or state representatives.
Your voice matters.
Parent Across America’s 2014 PRIORITY ISSUES
Positive, progressive reforms that work
► Reduce High-Stakes Testing: Along with other education groups, we call on Congress to hold hearings that examine the overuse and misuse of the high-stakes standardized tests mandated by No Child Left Behind. Numerous studies have indicated that NCLB’s focus on high-stakes testing has had profoundly negative effects on American schools, teachers and students – problems that can only be remedied by Congressional action. Congress should begin that project with comprehensive hearings that examine the experiences of students, parents and teachers, as well as the findings of education scholars.
Congress should scale back the number and frequency of standardized tests it requires and provide resources to expand high-quality alternative assessments.
►Strengthen Student Privacy Protections: PAA also joins others in calling for hearings on student privacy. We are alarmed that recent federal policies increase the risk that our children’s highly sensitive personal data will be disclosed to third-parties for purposes that go well beyond reasonable educational uses, and deny parents the right of notification or consent. More and more information about our children and families is being collected and stored. Business interests are pushing states and school districts to expand online learning which increases opportunity for student data collection by private companies. State tracking of all students using the same Common Core standards and tests raises the specter of a national database of private information about children and families.
Congress should reverse changes in FERPA laws that undermine student privacy and parental control, and increase privacy safeguards.
►Replace Charter “Choice” with Real Parental Empowerment:By large margins, U.S. parents prefer sending their children to a high-quality school in their community – and having a real voice in improving those schools – to school takeover by charter or other private management. It’s time for Congress to listen to parents and promote increased resources to all of our schools, a stronger parent voice in education policy, smaller class sizes, pre-K and full-day Kindergarten, experienced, supported teachers, a well-rounded curriculum, and evaluation systems that go beyond test scores.
Congress should reconsider its overemphasis on charter expansion and focus on proven strategies that strengthen public schools for all children.
WHO WE ARE
Parents Across America is a non-profit, non-partisan grassroots organization that connects parents and advocates from across the U.S. to share ideas and work together to improve our nation’s public schools, using strategies that work for students, teachers, schools and communities.