Topic

public education

36 petitions

Started 1 week ago

Petition to Gregory L. Fenves

We Want Bike Lanes on Speedway (and a Bicycle Master Plan)

We, the students, faculty, staff, and alumni of the University of Texas at Austin, petition UT President Gregory L. Fenves to direct the appropriate department to add a separated bike lane along the Speedway Mall from Martin Luther King Boulevard to Dean Keeton Street. A separated bike lane will reduce conflicts between students. UT’s 1999 Campus Master Plan, in which the pedestrian mall was first formally proposed, calls for a separated bike lane along the entire length of Speedway. The plan observes that “conflicts between pedestrians and cyclists will be resolved by creating separate bicycle lanes.” This language, and the bike lane itself, disappeared from subsequent iterations of the campus plan. The recent redesign of the mall has proven the wisdom of the original plan as both students on bikes and students walking find the shared space frustrating. A separated bike lane will improve mobility for all students. As the university has expanded beyond the “40 acres,” travel time between classrooms, dorms, and other destinations has also expanded. With classes scheduled as closely as ten minutes apart, walking speed is often not fast enough. By creating a bike lane on Speedway, the university will enable students to cross campus in as little as two minutes. The twelve-minute walk from Jester West to Kinsolving is reduced to a mere three minutes when biking at a leisurely ten miles per hour. The university has taken a step in the right direction with free membership in the city’s docked bikeshare system, B-cycle; now it needs to follow through with proper infrastructure. A separated bike lane will make students safer. Without a bike lane, students may be pushed to bike on San Jacinto Boulevard or Guadalupe Street, increasing the risk of a deadly collision with a motor vehicle. A separated bike lane will also establish greater predictability and clear expectations, making the Speedway corridor safer for walking students — particularly students with disabilities. A separated bike lane will serve all students, even those who do not use a bicycle. A bike lane will better accommodate students using boosted skateboards, electric scooters, and other innovative transportation devices than the current shared space. More students biking means less demand for the university’s limited parking. A separated bike lane will demonstrate the university’s commitment to a sustainable future. The university has promised, through its official Campus Sustainability Policy, to “improve the long-term quality and regenerative capacity of the environmental, social and economic systems that support the University’s activities and needs.” As transportation makes up a significant share of students’ expenses and their ecological footprint, the university should be doing all it can to reduce automobile dependence.   THE UNIVERSITY NEEDS A BICYCLE MASTER PLAN Additionally, the university must address the policy shortcomings that led to the lack of bike lanes on Speedway. We call on the university to commission a Bicycle Master Plan that lays out a campus-wide vision for bicycling, provides a blueprint for incorporating bike facilities into future construction, and includes a timeline for specific infrastructure improvements.   For more information on the Campus Bike Alliance, visit facebook.com/campusbikealliance or email campusbikealliance@gmail.com

Campus Bike Alliance
139 supporters
Started 1 month ago

Petition to North Carolina General Assembly, Debra Conrad, Jeffrey Elmore, D. Craig Horn, Linda Johnson, Cecil Brockman, Bobbie Richardson, Hugh Blackwell, John Fraley, Pat Hurley, Cynthia Ball, Larry Bell, Kevin Corbin, Susan Fisher, Rosa Gill, Holly Grange, Marvin Lucas, Henry Michaux, John Sauls, Lee Zachary, Chad Barefoot, David Curtis, Michael Lee, Tamara Barringer, Deanna Ballard, Erica Smith, Jerry Tillman, Joyce Waddell, Roy Cooper, Thom Tillis, Richard Burr

Declaration of North Carolina Public School Sentiments and Resolutions

In Raleigh, May 16, 2018. The unanimous Declaration of the one hundred counties of North Carolina, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to remind their lawmakers of the civic responsibilities which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to action. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all students are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are healthy school living and learning environments, liberty to explore their potential across well-rounded curriculum, and to be financially supported in their pursuit of academic growth.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among communities, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to remind their representatives of their responsibilities to our students, and to institute new members in November if necessary, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Education. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that lawmakers long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that students, teachers, parents, and their communities are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce their per pupil funding under a period of economic growth, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such representatives, and to provide new Guards for their future education.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these counties; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former education policies of Government. The history of the present General Assembly is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of a disconnected leadership over these counties. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world. They have refused their assent to budgets that are necessary for the public good. They have forbidden Governors to appoint members to the state Board of Education, UNC Board of trustees, and other positions (HB 17). They have attempted to pass other Laws contrary to the accommodation of large districts of teachers, unless those people would relinquish the right of due process, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only. (2014 Senate budget proposal) They have called together legislative bodies at times unusual, and uncomfortable, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with their measures. They have dissolved due process for teachers, for opposing with firmness invasions on their classrooms. They have endeavoured to prevent the population of the teaching profession; for that purpose obstructing the NC Teaching Fellows and pay for a Master’s degree; refusing to pass funding to encourage teacher migrations hither, freezing the pay of the most experienced teachers, and removing retirement health benefits from future members of the profession. They have obstructed the Administration of Education, by refusing to create a pay structure incentivizing our most qualified teachers to pursue administrative leadership positions. They have made teachers dependent on their Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries. They have erected a multitude of charter schools, and sent hither swarms of corporations to poach our students, and eat out their substance. They have kept among us, in times of economic and population growth, diminishing per pupil funding. They have affected to render charter and private schools independent of and superior to traditional public schools. They have combined with corporations and private entities to offer them a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our public education tradition; giving their Assent to their Acts of pretended Education. For Quartering large bodies of students within classrooms: For NOT protecting students, by even the most basic of primary health care, through cuts in school-based nurses, psychologists, counselors, and social workers. For cutting off our textbook and technology funds: For imposing Tax cuts on corporations funded on the backs of our students. For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Teacher Assistants: For transporting us beyond borders to try for professional respect. For abolishing support of the free System of public schools in favor of a neighbouring charter or private school, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same profiteering rule into these public districts: For giving more to Charter and private vouchers, freezing pay of our most experienced teachers, and altering fundamentally the structure of our classrooms: For suspending our own payroll deductions to public education advocates, and declaring themselves threatened by those who speak against their power to unwisely legislate for us in all cases whatsoever. They have abdicated civil leadership here, by declaring students less deserving of their fiscal Protection and vilifying teachers. They have plundered our coffers, ravaged our teacher assistant funding, burnt our textbook funding, and destroyed the interest in UNC Education programs. They are at this time transporting large amounts of vouchers to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of greed & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most developed nations, and totally unworthy the Heads of a civilized state. They have constrained our children taken Captive on ill-conceived high stakes testing to bear results against their district, to become the executioners of their funds and staffing, or to fall themselves into the Hands of chartered Innovative School Districts. They have excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and have endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless corporate interests, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all funding, morale, and conditions. In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A legislative body whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free educated people. Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our County-wide and Congressional brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our frustration with counterproductive policies here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our classrooms and creativity. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold all representatives, accountable with our votes. Resolved, that per pupil spending will increase to pre-recession levels when adjusted for inflation. Resolved, that national standards recommending ratios for school nurses, counselors, social workers, and psychologists will be met as educating a student includes attending to their physical and mental well-being. Resolved, that funding for textbook, technology, supplies and materials will increase to pre-recession levels when adjusted for inflation. Resolved, that student growth will be prioritized in academic measurement, and policies will be enacted that promote student growth and achievement, as educating the full child includes supporting their needs at school and at home. Resolved, that compensation for advanced degrees will be restored, and experience and dedication to the classroom will be rewarded with raises including those with the most experience, instead of the occasional one-time bonus. Resolved, that teachers joining the profession in the future will receive health benefits in retirement. Resolved, that teacher assistant positions will be restored to pre-recession levels, and salaries will be competitive not with the poverty line, but with similarly skilled private sector positions. Resolved, that a Statewide School Construction bond will be offered to fix existing facilities and build new ones to alleviate strain from age and growth.  Facility strain should be addressed to make way for improving class size ratios by making more classrooms available. Resolved, that taxpayer money will not be used to subsidize private or chartered education entities. Resolved, that corporate and personal income tax cuts will not continue until the above commitments are fulfilled. We, therefore, the people of North Carolina, constituents of the General Assembly, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Counties, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Counties are, and of Right ought to have Funded and Respected Public Schools; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to those who turn a deaf ear, and that all political connection between them and the State of North Carolina, is and ought to be totally reconsidered; and that as Free and Independent Citizens, they have full Power to levy votes, conclude Peaceful protests, contract Alliances, establish Commercials, and to do all other Acts and Things which responsible citizens may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Careers, our Futures and our sacred Honor. In entering upon the great work before us, we anticipate no small amount of misconception, misrepresentation, and ridicule; but we shall use every instrumentality within our power to effect our object.  Firmly relying upon the final triumph of the Right and the True, we do this day affix our signatures to this declaration.

Kimberly Mackey
36 supporters
Started 2 months ago

Petition to Guadalupe Guerrero, Portland Public Schools Board of Education

Be transparent and accountable with changes to district equity work; include family voice

  We are writing as parents and families of PPS students, and concerned community members, to compel you to provide schools and families with a transparent explanation and rationale for budget cuts and changes to the Office of Equity and Partnerships. Racism in this country has amplified since President Trump took office. Families of color in our community, including our students, feel increased fear and hostility.   District data show 80% of the district's teachers are white; 45% of PPS enrolled students are children of color.  White people in this country, including white teachers, have a long way to go in skillfully handling conversations and situations related to race and racism with students and families.  Given district demographics, teachers and principals navigate racial experiences daily with their students.  Yet, it appears that Portland Public Schools is dismantling its Office of Equity and Partnerships, starting with the elimination of its Senior Director and its absence from the district's proposed organizational chart. District leadership has provided little to no information publicly about the proposed new "Equity 2.0."  According to a district spokesperson, Superintendent Gurrero views his role as "Chief Equity Officer."  He has not, however, removed other department Chiefs and subsumed their roles, too.   As parents and families of PPS students this causes us great concern. Moving forward without a clear plan is unacceptable. We see the value when teachers work to create multicultural, inclusive learning environments.  We see the damage when they don't.  We know students of color who experience racism from students, parents, and staff.  Sometimes it's unintentional. Sometimes it's egregious.  In either case, the harm stops students from learning.  It poisons the entire classroom and school climate.  The teams at PPS’ Office of Equity and Partnerships help school staff and families with issues that impact our students every day and can impact their lives for years to come. If district leadership doesn’t value this work, then what equity work does it value? In light of the budget cuts and changes to the Office of Equity and Partnerships, we call upon you to immediately provide schools and families with a detailed and transparent explanation of “Equity 2.0.”  We demand to know how this plan was created and why, what it is intended to accomplish, and how it will address problems that district leadership has determined were troubling PPS's equity work.   We want to know who will be responsible for the day-to-day implementation and oversight of "Equity 2.0" and what resources will be devoted to it.  We want to understand how it will build on the racial equity focus under PPS's investment in Courageous Conversations and Beyond Diversity model, a racial equity approach used in other school districts across the country including St. Paul, MN; Evanston, IL; and Topeka, KS to name a few.   Most importantly, we demand to know how the district will engage students and families, particularly those of color, to provide on-going input, leadership and guidance in the district’s racial equity work.   -Meg Johnson, Alameda Elementary School -Kamelah Adams, Irvington Elementary School PTA VP of Racial Equity & Inclusion -Angela Uherbelau, Irvington Elementary School -Sharon Jimenz Meyers, Alameda Elementary, Beaumont Middle School -Andrea O'Donnell, Alameda Elementary School, Beaumont Middle School -Kimmy Scarpine, Alameda Elementary School, Beaumont Middle School, Grant High School -Christine Svetkovich, Beach Elementary

Meg Johnson
514 supporters
Started 2 months ago

Petition to Dan Huberty, Jason Isaac, Greg Abbott

No More STAAR: End High-Stakes Testing in Texas

We have to end high-stakes standardized testing in the State of Texas. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is failing our kids with the STAAR. In 2015 the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 743 into law to shorten the time limits of the assessments. The TEA and Commissioner Mike Morath have yet to comply with this law which was supposed to take effect immediately. They claimed they didn't have enough time to revise the assessment for the 2016 administration. Three years later our children are still having to sit for many hours completing assessments that are developmentally inappropriate and unlawful in their duration. Why does Commissioner Morath believe that his agency is above the law? Why do they still get to use this illegal assessment to justify sanctions on schools and school districts at the expense of our children? The TEA and Commissioner Morath must be held accountable for their actions.  High-stakes standardized testing has consumed our children's education from the first day of first grade to their senior year. More than half their time in the classroom is spent on STAAR preparation rather than learning the academic foundations. The TEA penalizes our children if they do not pass the assessments. Students in the 5th and 8th grades are given three opportunities to take and pass the assessment; those who do not pass are automatically retained, with no regard for their classwork throughout the school year, unless the Grade Placement Committee decides they should be promoted. This is not fair and it is cruel punishment to our children.  We need to give control of the schools back to the district and allow them to meet our children's educational needs instead of focusing only on ratings that schools receive in connection with participation in the assessments. The $90 million dollars that we spend each year for the STAAR could go toward smaller class sizes, art and music education, wraparound services, fair compensation and better health insurance for teachers, etc.   Enough is Enough! We have to end the STAAR and all high-stakes standardized testing. Join the No More STAAR Rally at 10:00 am on August 4th at the south steps of the State Capitol in Austin.

Diane Lewis
5,957 supporters