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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Choice means: You are not in control of your child's education.

Come meet Parents Across America and Karran Haper Royal

Imagine if parents no longer have the right to send their children to local schools. Welcome to the world of Race To The Top. Imagine you do win the school lottery, and your child gets in! It's Hallelujah time. You are dancing in the streets, but then they discover that your child has special needs. They start doing everything they can to make you and your child uncomfortable. Welcome to the world of "push outs." 
You see the word "public" in "privatized public education" means these schools do not have to educate your child. In the "Choice world" schools do not have to keep your child. If your child's has low test scores, or if they require special services school administrators may just start to make you and your child feel uncomfortable enough to leave. This is the world of push outs!   
Choice means parents have the right to be in the lottery. Those lotteries always end up with less special needs & ESL students.  Choice means parents don't vote for school board members. So much for empowering parents. There is no democracy in the world of choice schools, but there are CEOs.
Think of it like this "Choice" works like that old Outer Limits TV Show: There is nothing wrong with your school set. Do not attempt to adjust your school. 
"We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it louder, we will bring up the volume. If we wish to make it softer, we will tune it to a whisper. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to — The Outer Limits." (The Control Voice naaration) 
You parents are not in control of your schools under Race To The Top. You are in the Outer Limits of school choice. 
Perhaps Realtors should begin their listings with your children may or may not be able to attend the local schools in this neighborhood. 
This one is dedicated to Parents Across America and Karran Harper Royal! 
Go tell it on the mountain next week, With love and the deepest respect.
Yours truly,
The Walking Man Jesse 

Want to know the truth?

Dear Friends:
Feeling overwhelmed by all the negative legislation and education policies being imposed by corporate reformers on your school or district?

Next  Monday night, Feb. 20 at 8 PM, Parents Across America will be sponsoring a conference call, open to all parents and concerned citizens, to brief you on strategies you can use to fight back against the damaging tide of privatization wreaking havoc our public schools.

When: Monday, Feb. 20 at 8 PM EST.

Conference Dial-in Number: (424) 203-8075 

 Participant Access Code: 1037540#

First, hear from Karran Harper Royal, a PAA founding member, about what’s happening in New Orleans, where about 75% of the schools are charters and before too long, they may all be privatized.  Rather than the idealized picture portrayed by Sec. Duncan and the corporate reform crowd, this has led to nightmarish experiences for many children, who no longer have the right to attend their neighborhood school, and are often forced to travel hours each day on buses which their parents have to pay for, especially if attending higher-performing schools. 

Discrimination is especially fierce against students with disabilities. This is the future that children in many parts of the country may face if the privatizers get their way.  Hear what Karran and other parents are doing to fight back, and about the lawsuit they have filed with the help of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Then, Dora Taylor and Sue Peters, founders of PAA- Seattle, will describe how the state of Washington is experiencing the fourth push in 15 years to authorize charter schools.  Washington is one of only about ten states in which charter schools are still not legal. Though the research doesn't support charters, the backers of this campaign have deep pockets -- including the Gates Foundation and the operations they fund, including Stand for Children, Inc. DFER, and the League of Education Voters.  Parents are also facing a barrage of potentially damaging "teacher evaluation" bills in the legislature.

The corporate reformers' strategy is to bypass the voters and push these bills through, inundating the session with multiple bills in 'whack a mole' tactics. Sue and Dora will talk about how they are organizing other parents throughout the state, working with other stakeholder groups, and helping to disseminate the truth about charters and teacher evaluation to prevent these bills from being passed – in Bill Gates’ own backyard.

When: Monday, Feb. 20 at 8 PM EST.
 Conference Dial-in Number: (424) 203-8075 
 Participant Access Code: 1037540#

If you have a question in advance, please send it to 

Thank you and  Happy Valentine's Day from Julie, Leonie and the rest of us at Parents Across America!

Go tell it on that mountain Parents Across America!
If you are wondering what the Walking Man is listening today on his walk it's Joan Baez singing "We Shall Over Come"

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