533 petitions

Update posted 2 days ago

Petition to Michael Mulgrew (President of the United Federation of Teachers), Bill de Blasio, Carmen Fariña, Laura Feijoo, Yuet Chu, Alexandra Estrella

Save Central Park East 1 Elementary School!

Central Park East 1 is an elementary school in East Harlem with a forty-year history of progressive, child-centered education.  During recent years of endless education reforms, the school has grappled with how to balance its commitment to equity and progressive pedagogy with increasingly politicized demands for data and high-stakes testing. Its opt-out rate last year was 81%. In a city of all too many segregated schools, Central Park East 1 is uniquely integrated and diverse.  Over the last nine months, Principal Monika Garg and Superintendent Alexandra Estrella have ignored the outreach and concerns of large groups of parents and the School Leadership Team (SLT), disregarded longstanding democratic policies and practices of our community, launched investigations of tenured teachers, and subjected young children to interviews by the principal and an unknown man--believed to be Deputy Superintendent Thomas McBryde and/or an officer from from the city’s special investigations unit.  These interviews of children were conducted without notifying parents and without a rationale for their necessity. No precautions were taken to ensure children’s psychological and emotional safety.  These actions, some of the most egregious in a very long list, reveal a disturbing pattern of administrative mistreatment of our community.   It is for the above reasons that we request that Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chancellor Carmen Farina take the following actions: 1) Remove the current school leader, Ms. Monika Garg, from her post; 2) Provide external oversight, transparency, and authentic community engagement in a process to hire a new principal (referred to as the C-30), including a temporary interim acting school leader if necessary; and 3) Establish a separate district to better support the unique needs of progressive schools.  -------- Note: When signing, please use the personal message text box to tell us your relationship to CPE1: current parent, alumni, friend, etc.  Thank you. 

Save CPE1
2,805 supporters
Started 1 week ago

Petition to Scholastic, Michelle Obama

Making A Change In The World

Hi Everyone, My name is Allyson Lawrence, and I go to Durham Acadmey middle school. I'm writing this to talk about something that is important to me, and I think would be important to other children. I was sitting down in Language Arts class when my teacher started to talk about how it is harder for kids to make a change. So since we are learning how to write persuasive letters in class, I decide to take a step forward, and get my voice heard even more.I believe kids should have a chance to make a change. Adults are always encouraging us to make a change in the world, but they never let us. We have been growing up with their point of views, such as political views, and how we should act. I believe if adults want us to make a change in the world, they should let us have our own political views, or try to go out and change the world. There are some parents who allow that but for the very little kids, they need their parents help, or don't have the time or money to do it.How are we supposed to make a change when we have parents hovering over us, to make sure we do it right? All ideas whether crazy or weird should be heard. It is possible to make into something else. In Scholastic they wrote a short Paragraph talking about how we need kids to make a change, here is a sentence from it: "With a troubled economy and so many problems at home and abroad, it can sometimes feel overwhelming to be a kid". I believe this right here is exactly why kids need to make a change. We always have adults making decisions that mostly benefit them but not kids. Kids or a young Adults have a fresh mind, with brand new ideas, and crazy thoughts. Adults minds have been through school and they sometimes lose their crazy ideas, or wanting to try something new. Now there are many organizations that kids are head of trying to change the world based of their idea. I want to have an organization where we meet up, and take ideas and run with them. Have car washes, or write letters and get our voices heard. Not just on one specific thing but on everything around us, that is affecting us.  Kids just have that voice inside of them, wanting to be heard, and don't know how to do it. For kids and young adults like that this organization would be great for them. The get their voices to be heard, and shared with the world. This organization wouldn't just be for selected kids, it's for everyone. There should be no cost, because you shouldn't have to pay money to be heard. We would break up into groups and make ideas and present them, and we get our voices heard. If you live far away we FaceTime. No matter what your going to be heard in this group.I really believe in this, and I think if I had someone such as Michelle Obama who has taken part in organization could really help get our voices out there and heard.   I have always wanted to make a Change win the world, but I never knew how. I know now to make that change you have to get out there and try. So that's what I'm doing trying to get voices from alll around the world, meet up and discuss and figure how to make our world change for the better. I will make it my duty to make sure your voice is heard no matter what because your idea matters.  

Allyson Lawrence
9 supporters
Update posted 2 weeks ago

Petition to Board of Education, Dr. Paul Goren

School District 65 Needs a Recess Policy

It is time for the Evanston/Skokie School District 65 to create a district-wide recess policy. Frequently, in District 65, recess is taken away as a consequence for student misbehavior, or students are required to use recess time to complete work. Educators and education administrators must view recess as a valuable and essential learning time for children.  Research has proven what we’ve known for years: children NEED recess to develop social skills, hone problem-solving skills, explore their own ideas, re-charge their minds after periods of structured activity, and simply exercise.  Furthermore, research has shown that adequate recess time actually improves student behavior and academic goals.  Children who have recess are better able to manage their behavior and focus on learning in the classroom, which especially helps those students who need recess the most and are the most likely to have it taken away. While school systems do not always move as nimbly and swiftly as we would like, there are ways to make small meaningful changes that really do have an impact on student success.  Creating a recess policy and properly implementing it for the 2016-17 school year is one of those changes that we should all be able to agree is worth acting upon. Given District 65’s strategic plan-related focus on school climate, social-emotional learning (SEL), and the whole child, recess should be viewed as an SEL investment opportunity. I am asking the District 65 School Board and District 65 Administration to please take immediate action to ensure that every Evanston elementary and middle school child has access to adequate recess. A SAMPLE OF THE RESEARCH Research funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in partnership with the National Association of Elementary School Principals found that:  ·       Four out of five principals report that recess has a positive impact on academic achievement. ·       Two-thirds of principals report that students listen better after recess and are more focused in class. ·       Virtually all believe that recess has a positive impact on children’s social development (96 percent) and general well being (97 percent). The report also found that recess offers students one of their few opportunities during the school day to interact and develop social skills, such as negotiating and cooperating, with minimal adult interference. The American Academy of Pediatrics asserts that: “Recess serves as a necessary break from the rigors of concentrated, academic challenges in the classroom. But equally important is the fact that safe and well-supervised recess offers cognitive, social, emotional, and physical benefits that may not be fully appreciated when a decision is made to diminish it. Recess is unique from, and a complement to, physical education—not a substitute for it. The American Academy of Pediatrics believes that recess is a crucial and necessary component of a child’s development and, as such, it should not be withheld for punitive or academic reasons.” The Journal of School Health echoes pediatricians’ sentiments: “Recess serves a critical role in school as a necessary break from the rigors of academic challenges. Unstructured recess and free play provides a unique contribution to a child's creative, social, and emotional development. From the perspective of children's health and well-being, recess time should be considered a child's personal time and should not be withheld for academic or punitive reasons.” MANY SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND STATE BOARDS OF EDUCATION HAVE PROACTIVELY CREATED POLICY THAT STATES RECESS CANNOT BE WITHHELD AS A PUNISHMENT FOR STUDENTS OR USED AS A TIME TO MAKE UP WORK. The Chicago Public Schools Policy Manual, Local School Wellness Policy for Students, Section 704.7, Subsection G. Recess states: “All elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools with elementary grades, shall provide elementary students (K-8) with a daily opportunity for recess. Recess is a non-instructional activity and shall occur during non-instructional time. Recess shall be at least 20 minutes in length per day. Recess, which provides students with a break from instruction and time to engage in play with peers, shall include physical activity and/or activities that promote social skill development. It is recommended that schools schedule recess prior to students’ lunch period. Schools shall implement recess in accordance with CPS Student Wellness Guidelines.” It further states under Subsection H. Food and Physical Activity as Rewards or Punishment: “Teachers and other school personnel shall not use physical activity (e.g., running laps, push-ups as a punishment) or withhold opportunities for physical activity (e.g., withholding recess, physical education) as punishment.” and “Teachers and other school personnel are encouraged to use physical activity opportunities as rewards such as extra recess, special classroom privileges etc.” Miami-Dade County’s policy reads: “Recess should not be viewed as a reward, but a necessary educational support component for all children.  Students should not be denied recess as a punishment or to make up work.” Berkeley Unified School District has adopted recess restriction policies stating: “The Board recognizes the value of recess and play. It improves students’ ability to focus and it helps students cognitively process information they are learning. Recess also plays an important part in the social and emotional development of children, enabling them to engage in peer interactions and develop their social skills. Recess time is also a unique and important opportunity for teachers to work closely with students in a way that is difficult to obtain in other parts of the school day.” Berkeley does not strictly prohibit using recess as a punishment but has specific guidelines and conditions for when it can be used. North Carolina’s State Board of Education has adopted a statewide policy stating “recess shall not be taken away from students as a form of punishment.” AN ARGUMENT AGAINST A RECESS POLICY AND SUGGESTIONS FOR ALTERNATIVE CONSEQUENCES One argument that has been presented for not having a recess policy is that it gives teachers no options to give consequences for bad behavior. Yet, teachers and school districts that believe that recess leads to students being better prepared to learn have gotten more creative with consequences.  And better yet, they get creative with ways to prevent behavior issues that lead to needing disciplinary action in the first place. Peaceful Playgrounds, a California nonprofit, created a handout: 60 Alternatives to Withholding Recess, offering ways to incent good behavior and alternative punishments such as letter writing or having students sit away from the group to do class work and have them “earn” their way back into the group activities. Other options include being assigned to classroom clean up or being assigned extra homework. The nonprofit Playworks lists this as an alternative: “have a disciplined student become an incentive helper. For example, if a student is not practicing safe tagging, that student then becomes the safe tag spotter and gives high fives to students who are practicing safe tagging. This provides a leadership opportunity and allows the student to show that they recognize what safe tagging looks like.” THREE RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING RECESS FROM THE ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON FOUNDATION'S STATE OF PLAY REPORT: 1. It’s time for education policymakers at all levels to take play seriously. Between clinical evidence and the direct input of our nation’s principals, the benefits of recess are well documented. Recess should no longer be treated as an afterthought or an expendable block of time. Instead, it must be recognized as an essential part of the school day. In addition, schools should end the practice of taking recess away as punishment. 2. Schools should enhance recess to improve learning and school climate. For all of its contributions to learning, recess is the single biggest source of student disciplinary problems. The good news is that schools could eliminate most of their behavioral headaches if they simply managed their recess more effectively. 3. The single best way to improve recess is to improve the way it is staffed. Principals want more and better trained staff on the playground at recess. Because of today’s economic realities, many schools may not have the luxury of adding additional staff to recess. That makes it all the more important to ensure that adults on the playground at recess have the training necessary to manage it effectively. With limited and cost-effective training, schools could use existing staff to manage recess with even better results.   

Miriam Barnett
451 supporters