Petition to Louisiana State House, Louisiana State Senate
Louisiana Public Elementary Students Need Recess
We would like to petition the Louisiana State Legislators to pass a bill that would guarantee all Louisiana public school students in preschool, kindergarten, and grades one through six have recess periods of supervised, unstructured activity time, preferably outdoors, 5 days per week, for a minimum of 20 minutes a day (as recommended by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention). The benefit that this would provide for our students is undeniable. Some Louisiana schools do provide a break during the day but many do not. I find this to be unacceptable, not only for my 8 year old daughter who has only had two free-play breaks so far this entire school year, but for all of the elementary students in our state. Louisiana children as young as 3 and 4 are being denied free play time in school. This is not just ill conceived, it is potentially extremely harmful. The American Academy of Pediatrics, Council on School Health issued a policy statement in 2013 about The Crucial Role of Recess in School. According to the statement, they are very concerned about the widespread reallocation of daily activity time in school in favor of additional academic instruction. They believe 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.” “Just as physical education and physical fitness have well-recognized benefits for personal and academic performance, recess offers its own, unique benefits. Recess represents an essential, planned respite from rigorous cognitive tasks. It affords a time to rest, play, imagine, think, move, and socialize. After recess, for children or after a corresponding break time for adolescents, students are more attentive and better able to perform cognitively. In addition, recess helps young children to develop social skills that are otherwise not acquired in the more structured classroom environment. “ The American Academy of Pediatrics<a href="http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/131/1/183" rel="nofollow">http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/131/1/183</a> Of course, the AAP is not alone. This 2014 policy brief from the CDC on Supporting Recess in Elementary Schools is pretty clear about their position on the subject as well. “Recess provides students with a needed break from their structured school day. It can improve children’s physical, social, and emotional well-being, and enhance learning. Recess helps children meet the goal of 60 minutes of physical activity (PA) each day, as recommended by the US Department of Health and Human Services. National organizations (e.g., Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Pediatrics) recommend that districts provide at least 20 minutes of daily recess for all students in elementary schools.” <a href="http://www.bridgingthegapresearch.org/_asset/1d74y4/Supporting_Recess_Elementary_Schools_Oct_2014.pdf" rel="nofollow">http://www.bridgingthegapresearch.org/_asset/1d74y4/Supporting_Recess_Elementary_Schools_Oct_2014.pdf</a> Thank you for considering the proposed legislation. It truly would be beneficial to the young children of our state. ______________________________________________For additional information and research supporting the value of recess for young students please view the following sources. Recess and Social DevelopmentEarly Childhood News <a href="http://www.earlychildhoodnews.com/earlychildhood/article_view.aspx?ArticleID=39" rel="nofollow">http://www.earlychildhoodnews.com/earlychildhood/article_view.aspx?ArticleID=39</a> Does Better Recess Equal a Better School Day? Robert Wood Johnson Foundation <a href="http://www.rwjf.org/en/library/research/2013/05/better-recess-better-school-day.html" rel="nofollow">http://www.rwjf.org/en/library/research/2013/05/better-recess-better-school-day.html</a> Recess – It’s Indespensable!The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) <a href="https://www.naeyc.org/files/yc/file/200909/On%20Our%20Minds%20909.pdf" rel="nofollow">https://www.naeyc.org/files/yc/file/200909/On%20Our%20Minds%20909.pdf</a> School Recess Offers Benefits to Student Well-being Stanford Report <a href="http://news.stanford.edu/news/2015/february/recess-benefits-school-021115.html" rel="nofollow">http://news.stanford.edu/news/2015/february/recess-benefits-school-021115.html</a>
Petition to Superintendent Steve Lockard, FCPS School Board, FCPS Board of Supervisors
FCPS: Save AAP Centers (and save bus transportation to Centers)
The Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Budget Task Force is recommending eliminating AAP Center Schools. Technically, they recommend eliminating bus service to all AAP Center schools (gifted and talented magnet schools) at both the elementary and middle school level (grades 3-8) and instead replacing them with “Local Level IV” services (LLIV). What this means in plain English is that students will no longer have a choice to go to a gifted magnet or center school, but rather, will be forced to stay in their local or "base" school, unless they can secure their own transportation. And it is only a matter of time, once there is no transportation, to close the doors on all AAP Center Schools. FCPS says that they will instead create gifted programs in every local school, so they claim no one will be adversely affected. But AAP Center Schools and Local Level IV base programs are NOT equal. FCPS may also use positive spin terminology like “creating a Center in every school” – which sounds good in theory – but in reality means simply that everyone has to stay at their local school, so there is no longer a choice to go to a “true” Center school - one that brings in AAP kids from multiple schools. The local schools will not have the same resources nor the same size peer group. This may end up being a form of discrimination, as students in the poorest schools are likely to be most severely impacted. AAP Centers and LLIV (base) schools are not all equal. Here’s why: · Resources. Do we really believe the gifted programs at the poorest schools, in the poorest neighborhoods, will be as good as the gifted programs in the wealthy schools, in the wealthy neighborhoods? Some schools have wealthier families, with wealthier PTAs donating more resources. Some schools have more stay at home parents, with more time to volunteer at the school. As a result, some schools have many, many more opportunities for enrichment and clubs, like chess club, debate, model UN, robotics, science fairs, math Olympiads, etc., etc. These are activities that AAP kids need to thrive. If FCPS truly believes all Lev el IV Schools in the County are equal, then why not continue to offer the choice and see how many students voluntarily elect to stay at their local school, versus how many opt to take the bus to the AAP Center school, with more resources? If the two are truly equal, then FCPS would not be saving any money with this proposal, because everyone would choose to stay in their local school anyway. · Peer Groups / "Critical Mass". Peer group or “critical mass” of like-minded students is important. Even if you assume two different schools, one Local Level IV and one AAP Center school, can be equal in terms of quality, the number of AAP qualified kids in the school also matters. Imagine a situation where the LLIV program has only 3 or 4 AAP qualified kids, but the AAP Center, which brings AAP kids from multiple schools, might have two or three CLASSROOMS full of AAP students. Anyone with an AAP kid knows that they might feel like a “nerd” or outcast when they are in the minority. But at the AAP Center school, where most kids are like them, they “fit in” and thrive. This is important not only socially and psychologically (for self confidence), but also academically. When they don’t fit in, they will stop “acting smart” and will start trying to fit in by not standing out academically. In a Center school the peer group pushes each other academically, so they all strive to achieve more. Studies show peer groups matter. Students in Local Level IV schools with small "cohorts" will be disadvantaged. This proposal is discrimination, plain and simple. The poor and the minorities will be disproportionately disadvantaged by this change for two reasons – first, because the poorest schools with the most minorities will be disproportionately affected, and second because the wealthiest families will be most able to secure transportation to keep their options open. Sign on to this petition if you want to tell FGCPS (the Superintendent, the Board of Supervisors and the School Board) that AAP Centers and Local Level IV AAP Programs are NOT equal, and that AAP Centers should be preserved, along with the right to take a bus to the AAP Center near you.
Petition to Kalamazoo Public Schools
Allow LGBTQ Books in Kalamazoo Schools Reading Program
Kalamazoo Public Schools recently decided not to include LGBTQ books in their reading program. As a 2015 graduate, I am disappointed and infuriated. Help me show KPS that we need LGBTQ representation and our children, siblings, nieces, nephews, friends, etc. deserve better. The story: https://www.wmuk.org/post/after-complaints-no-lgbtq-books-kalamazoo-schools-reading-program?fbclid=IwAR0scVVLn-80JMw0pNdhZOXuuROiFOyk3HtEAkmFwCx9vMfqTJC9FKWdyPg#stream/0
Petition to SOMSD Superintendent and Board of Ed and CHS Principal Morgan
Start Columbia High School Later to Reduce Sleep Deprivation in Teens
We, the concerned residents, parents and students of South Orange and Maplewood, are writing to urge you to submit an application to the New Jersey Commissioner of Education to allow Columbia High School to participate in the pilot program for later start times for high schools. A later start time would promote the health, well-being, and academic success of our students. Major studies show that most adolescents suffer from sleep deprivation when their school day begins before 8:30 AM. Most teens undergo a "phase delay" in their sleep patterns, causing them to naturally fall asleep later and wake up later in the morning than they did in early childhood. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommended that high schools start class after 8:30 AM. According to the CDC, 70% of all teens are sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation endangers children's health and safety, contributing to depression, anxiety, substance abuse, obesity, and car crashes, among many other issues. Inadequate sleep is also associated with poorer academic and athletic performance. Schools that have changed to later start times report that their students show improved attendance, improved academic performance, higher standardized test scores, increased efficiency in homework, lower rates of depression, fewer disciplinary referrals, and increased total sleep. One city experienced a 70% reduction in teen car crashes. We believe a later school start will benefit all our high school students.
Petition to Barrington School Committee
Protest the vote regarding the new school start times
The school committee recently voted 3-2 in favor of changing the school start times. This later time is extremely costly and there are many concerns about where the money will come from to support this change. There are also many unanswered questions regarding school activities and how they will be affected. We feel this decision was made without addressing the many concerns of students, teachers and residents of Barrington. The School Committee has taken an extreme measure without giving voice to the community at large. We are asking you to join us in requesting the School Committee respond to our concerns by signing . Decisions affecting our children concern all of us. Please consider signing so that the many unanswered questions surrounding this issue can be further discussed.
Petition to UC BOARS Committee
Make Computer Science count in California #CSinCA #MakeCSCount
In California, unlike most states, computer science is only an elective. This discourages students from taking it and schools from teaching it. California ought to be a leader in computer science. Make CS count in California and let all our kids have access to this foundational field. While most of America has already made this change, California doesn’t count CS toward graduation or college admission requirements. For this reason, most California schools don’t even offer it. As one of California’s few CS educators, I’ve witnessed the direct impact on my students in Oakland. Strained by the rigors of filling their schedule with required courses, few students can even consider computer science. It’s heartbreaking to see a student forced to choose between CS, which would be foundational to her career, and the courses required for college. No student should have to make such a choice. I’ve seen computer science transform the lives of my students. In America’s top universities, CS is rapidly becoming the most popular field of study. Leaders across academia and business have declared that computer science is foundational. California is making big moves to embrace CS. Schools across the state are adding CS classes. Governor Brown and the State Legislature have passed new laws providing a path for computer science to count towards graduation and university admission. In spite of these advances, the ultimate decision rests with the independent University of California Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools (BOARS) , and so far they’ve rejected proposals to make computer science count. I’m joining elected officials and dozens of academic and business leaders who stepped forward this week to ask the BOARS committee to update their math requirements (category “C”) to count computer science. Allowing computer science to count as a “C” credit will drive curriculum adoption by schools and enrollment by diverse populations across the state. Join us in urging the U.C. BOARS committee make computer science count. Together let’s bring California’s education system into the 21st century.