Opportunities for parents to weigh in!

/ 23 September 2011 / Parents United
Opportunities for parents to weigh in!

How much are you paying for public schools?
Minnesota Public Radio is asking parents to weigh in on the increasing cost to families of school activity fees and equipment, as well as what you may not be doing as a result of increased costs. Take a few minutes to weigh in!

Needed: Parent input on early childhood application
Governor Dayton has directed Education Commissioner Cassellius and the entire Children’s Cabinet to pursue the federal “Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge” grant opportunity. Minnesota is eligible for up to $50 million over four years to implement a high quality plan that will “promote school readiness for children with high needs” throughout Minnesota. While this application must be completed within a very short time frame, the State is sharing the process and seeking input via a website. Parents are encouraged to take a look and post comments on the aspects of the emerging plan. </p>


Are you running a levy in your district?
You may have been hearing disparaging comments about local levies from some of our legislators. We have gathered a number of responses to those remarks that may interest you.

We can all learn from others who are doing the same thing! If you are running a local school levy this November—and it’s the rare district that isn’t!—Parents United can help by providing a clearinghouse of local school levy information. If you’d like to list your website and share good information or ideas that may be on a particular site, just send the link to Eunice@parentsunited.org.

On a National level: Speak Up for Public Schools!
Parents for Public Schools, a national group made up of local chapters, has a petition that you can sign asking our elected officials to stop cutting funding for our schools! Although we are not affiliated with the group, we share similar beliefs! They also have a publication worth reading called School Finance: What Parents Need to Know and Do, another affirmation that school funding is a struggle that parents need to pay attention to not just in Minnesota but throughout the nation.

New @ the Website

  • Press Release: Commissioner Cassellius Applauds President Obama’s Education Reform Package – “In the coming days and weeks the Minnesota Department of Education will evaluate the specifics of President Obama’s waiver package. We are committed to submitting a comprehensive waiver proposal to the U.S. Department of Education that will position us to lead the nation in the kind of meaningful accountability that will ensure every Minnesota student reaches their full potential,” Minnesota Department of Education, September 23, 2011.</p>

    In a nutshell: It looks like Minnesota will have to submit a new waiver application, deadline November 14 for December peer review.

  • Diane Ravitch Book Review: School ‘Reform’: A Failing Grade – In these two books, we have two versions of school reform. One is devised by Wall Street financiers and politicians who believe in rigidly defined numerical goals and return on investment; they blame lazy teachers and self-interested unions when test scores are low. The other draws on the deep experience of a compassionate teacher who finds fault not with teachers, unions, or students, but with a society that refuses to take responsibility for the conditions in which its children live and learn—and who has demonstrated through her own efforts how one dedicated teacher has improved the education of poor young people, New York Review of Books.
  • Mary Cecconi: Minnesota lawmaker spreads school aid myth – Is Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, using his bully pulpit as House education finance chair to wage war on our children? Garofalo believes local voter-approved levies are a mechanism for “fleecing the taxpayers,” and he’s calling on others in his party to join him in opposing local school levy campaigns (“The pass-along pain from school cuts,” editorial, Sept. 13). His inflammatory language, his questioning the integrity of locally elected school board members and this jiggering of facts to suit an agenda are tantamount to declaring war on our kids, Star Tribune, September 16, 2011.
  • K-12 Online Learning evaluation report presented to the Legislative Audit Commission on Monday, September 19, 2011 by the Office of the Legislative Auditor.
  • </ul>
    Mary Cecconi, Executive Director (mary@parentsunited.org)
    Parents United for Public Schools
    1667 Snelling Avenue N., St. Paul, MN 55108



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