Petition to Kevin Maxwell, Rushern Baker, Dr. Kevin M. Maxwell, K. Alexander Wallace, Sonya Williams, Larry Hogan, pgcps, Segun Eubanks
Stop PGCPS from wearing uniforms!
The Students of PGCPS, have spoken up to the fact that Largo High School and Bowie High School are non-uniform schools. This is completely unfair. Administration in our schools are more concerned with their dress codes, rather our academics. We go to school to learn. However, they put us in ISS (in school suspension) if our uniforms do not fit their policy. Yes, they would rather us miss instructional time for something as small as uniforms. If we did not have a uniform policy in the first place, we would not have this problem. Clothes are a way for us to express ourselves and Prince George’s County is trying to make us conform to standards. If we want to be different then please allow us. We should be educated on college and career readiness and not the correct color of khaki pants. This has gone on long enough, I feel like parents would also agree that their kids are not happy with PGCPS uniform policy. Please stand with us and vote to help remove the PGCPS uniform policy.
Petition to Sue Dibble, Roger S. Bourassa, Maria Coleman, Ola Hawkins, Norman Sulser, John F. Axselle III, Robert L. Hundley, Jr., Charles Stevens, Michael Gill
Support Change at Lee-Davis High School, Home of the Confederates in Virginia
NOTE: all are welcome to sign the petition, but if you are a Lee-Davis High School alumni, parent of a student in Hanover County Public Schools or Hanover County resident please make a note in your signature. We have a special private petition that includes the names of alumni, students & faculty with graduation dates, e-mail LDHSChange@gmail.com to be added to that private petition. Feel free to sign BOTH! Please DO NOT include hateful or violent language in your signatures. This is a peaceful campaign inspired to uplift the local community and students. This petition contains signatures from a broad coalition including students, alumni, faculty, former faculty, concerned parents of students in Hanover County, residents from across Virginia and others from around the world. In our preparation, we uncovered troubling facts about the history of Hanover County Public Schools that are now largely erased from public consciousness. We found decades old opposition to these names and mascots led by students as early as the 1960s. Unfortunately, our public schools have long held a negative association with white supremacist groups in our state, including the Ku Klux Klan, who continue to use and glorify Confederate names and symbols at their demonstrations. Other communities and governments across the country have properly confronted the violence associated with these symbols. We agree that now is the time to confront this costly problem ourselves before violence or external forces lead to a more shameful public retraction of these names and mascots. Lee-Davis High School was named and built during a dark era of segregation in our country. In 1959, Lee-Davis High School was built to educate exclusively white students in Hanover County. White students in grades eight through twelve from Battlefield Park and Washington Henry Schools were permitted to vote on the new name and mascot, ultimately the school board finalized the current name and Confederate mascot. This decision was made five years after the US Supreme Court declared separate, but equal segregation to be unconstitutional. Lee-Davis High School would not meet federal integration standards until 1969, ten years after it opened. That decade saw a parallel embrace of Confederate symbols by the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups across the country in opposition to the Civil Rights Movement. Their memberships increased under opposition to integration and Confederate symbols were glorified at their public demonstrations. While Lee-Davis remained segregated under a Confederate name and mascot, these same Confederate symbols supporting the legacy of Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis and the rebel battle flag inspired these violent white supremacist groups in their efforts to keep schools segregated. Later, the construction of Stonewall Jackson Middle School with their Rebel mascot made this negative association more powerful. Across the country, white supremacist groups continue to glorify symbols of the Confederacy. Cities from Baltimore to Charleston to New Orleans have already reckoned with these complicated histories by quickly removing public support for Confederate symbols. We believe that Mechanicsville can also find a way to honor all parts of our history by acknowledging these historical facts and present realities. Right now, images of Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee hang on banners in Lee-Davis High School as symbols of pride. Stonewall Jackson's name is imprinted on sweatshirts and murals next door. Lee-Davis students are taught that a Confederate symbol is a source of pride and the Confederate mascot is met with cheers at football games. We can take it upon ourselves to remove the association with these symbols still used by white supremacists as a source of pride. Today, Hanover County Public Schools are integrated with students from all races and 28 different native languages. This diversity is planned to increase in the future. Our long range plan for 2017-2023 reflects important themes of relevance, equity, relationships and community. Hanover’s mission is to inspire, empower and lead as a student-centered, community-driven school district that assures a quality education for success in a changing world. Hanover agrees that public education must foster equitable opportunities for each child and that students thrive in a safe and secure environment that nurtures the whole child. The long range plan sets forward goals and objectives to 1) provide a community that promotes diversity through awareness, appreciation and understanding, 2) create an environment of mutual trust in which all employees feel supported, empowered, valued and engaged, 3) provide a safe, inclusive environment that engages all students, and 4) evaluate factors that impact the social and emotional safety of students. Continuing to glorify symbols of the Confederacy in school names and mascots directly contradicts these goals, missions and values for the future of Hanover County Public Schools. We are a peaceful coalition that seeks compromise to benefit all parties involved. This necessary process can be long, but we are committed to make it a reality. We seek inspiration from Quioccasin Middle School in our neighboring Henrico County where a peaceful change removed their negative association with Harry Byrd and his tireless support for segregation in Virginia. Members of that community can testify to the positive results following their necessary and economical compromise. We want to work with the school board and Hanover administrators to implement a democratic process to choose a name not associated with or glorified by white supremacist organizations. A neutral name such as Mechanicsville High School or Mechanicsville Middle School are two simple recommendations, but the possibilities are wide. We want to work with the school board and Hanover administrators to propose a reasonable budget to implement these necessary changes, some quickly and others gradually, for the most convenient and economic solution.
Petition to Kimberley Harrington, Katherine Czehut, Roger A. Jinks, Diane Shoener
Franklin C.A.R.E.S. - Protect Our Public Schools, Oppose Charter School Expansions
The excellent programming offered by the Franklin Township Public Schools is under threat by the proposal to create an unnecessary charter school in our community. Franklin Community Advocates Revitalizing our Education System (Franklin C.A.R.E.S.) passionately opposes the proposal of the Ailanthus Charter to establish a school in Franklin Township and take students out of our district schools. We equally oppose the expansion of any existing charters. The addition of a new charter school, and the expansion of another in Franklin Township, are fiscally irresponsible and educationally unnecessary. Either or both of these misguided proposals will create an unsustainable financial burden for our home district while undermining ongoing measurable student progress. The existing charter schools currently draw 9.8 million dollars from the public school budget. This debt is projected to grow to 20 million dollars in six years if charter growth continues! Our district has offered programing and coursework similar or better than charters for many years. We are proud of the academic, athletic, and artistic achievements of our children and their peers who are the beneficiaries of a vibrant public school system. We are proud of our educational community. We do not need charters. The Franklin Township School District: Provides a diverse selection of rigorous coursework that is tailored to meet students’ individual needs. Educates ALL students, regardless of abilities or backgrounds. Offers extensive extra-curricular opportunities. Prepares students for college and the workforce. Employs qualified, certified, dedicated teachers and support professionals. Recruits and retains experienced, well credentialed principals, supervisors, and administrators. Responds to community concerns through an elected board of education. Is deeply invested in serving students and our community with the highest level of integrity and excellence. It’s all right here in the Franklin Township Public Schools!
Petition to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, CMS Board of Education, Superintendent Ann Blakeney Clark, CMS Management Team
Ban the senior Graduation Project
The graduation project is meant to be a culmination of all of the knowledge we have gleaned so far through our education and exemplify that we are ready to take the next step, whatever that might be. The graduation project is not an effective means of measuring this as us students lack the time and resources such a project requires to truly do our best work. This project takes away valuable school time from the classes we are studying, and need to graduate, only adding stress that leaves us with no time to take care of ourselves or our many other classes. My friends and I are dedicated students that value our education and want to see the system grow but this project isn't helping teachers or students if it is taking away from valuable class time. I find myself having to choose between this project, classes that challenge me, my health and clubs that teach leadership skills and the importance of being involved and a productive member of society. These places encourage people to work together and problem solve in real life situations. The topics for this project are rushed, the process is panicked trying to find time to get everything done and still stay on top of personal and school responsibilities. Many opportunities for service are closed to my fellow classmates because they aren't old enough, lack transportation or have familial responsibilities. We are told we can't graduate unless we do well on this and suddenly you find yourself focusing on this more than anything because nothing you ever did in school matters unless you pass this project. Suddenly the rest of the work I've done throughout school means nothing because of this project that not even the teachers enjoy. This is why I believe we should get rid of the graduation project. It will allow students time to engage in activities within or outside the school that are meaningful to them. It will allow us students to focus more on excelling in the classes we are taking instead of taking away from them. It will allow those who have other responsibilities to take care of them with out the added stress of a project like this.
Petition to José R. Rodríguez
New Voices Texas
After details emerged following the media storm that swept the state and nation following the Prosper ISD student press censorship allegations in May, journalism advisers in Texas have turned their ears — and their voices — toward the attention they believe is long overdue. Friends of scholastic journalism are speaking out about student press rights in Texas, or the lack thereof. Finally, the public is taking notice. Partner organizations around the country took action — most notably, the Student Press Law Center, which drafted a comprehensive letter to Prosper ISD administration, condemning the censorship, strict editorial prior review policy and the contract non-renewal of a veteran adviser. The Texas Association of Journalism Educators sent its own letter to Prosper as well, echoing those sentiments. And although the letters served as both a targeted censure toward a campus principal and a message to all who may try to quash scholastic press rights, its effect regrettably may fade with the next news cycle. The situation in Prosper sparked dialogue across the country, bringing to the front the real issue at hand: the 1988 Hazelwood ruling itself, the power it gives to campus administrators, and the often vague and heavy-handed ways in which some principals choose to interpret it. Calling out administrators when they appear to overstep is one way — and a very strategic one — to keep the issue of student press rights in the spotlight. Here’s another: although it is the largest state journalism educator association in the nation, the Texas Association of Journalism Educators, along with scholastic press rights' supporters, have a long road ahead in using the recent events to re-ignite a campaign for student press freedom by championing the New Voices legislation. The bill stalled in committee during the last legislative session and is expected to be reintroduced when lawmakers return in January. TAJE wants to make 2019 the year we #CureHazelwood in the Lone Star State. Until then, we’ve got work to do. And here’s how you can help: SIGN UP: Signing on to this position will help propel New Voices legislation by showing broad support across the state, not just from specific interest groups. We’ve got our work cut out for us. When can you start? Follow us on Twitter @VoicesTexas for news and updates.
Petition to Chicago Public Schools
STAKEHOLDERS UNITE for the
Removal of Principal Mellodie Brown
As parents, teachers and staff we are collectively requesting the removal of Principal Mellodie Brown at Beethoven Elementary School, located in the Bronzeville community of Chicago. Our students have been treated unfairly and staff members have been victims of discrimination, bullying, and unfair labor practices under the “leadership” of Ms. Brown. We are asking that all stakeholders join us in this fight for Beethoven students and also for the fair and ethical treatment of our staff. Our students deserve to have teachers present in classrooms and also have the right to learn in a safe, stable, as well as nurturing environment. Both Ms. Brown and Assistant Principal Ms. Laverne Wright have jeopardized the safety of our children and staff, refusing to ensure that our building is secured from predators while leaving us accessible through unmonitored entryways. This is a serious threat to our school community, as one of the aforementioned entryways leads directly to our pre-k classes and washrooms. Additionally, our children have been denied access to countless educational opportunities and entitled services, as well as meals while in our school building. The mental anguish that many staff members at Beethoven have had to endure is unspeakable, and the disservice to our children has been inconceivable!!! We can’t describe in detail the avenues we have taken to shed light on the inappropriate and unacceptable actions of Ms. Brown, but today we are asking for your help! For more details regarding the concerns and current state of our school please visit the following website and review the comments section: https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/removal-of-principal-mellodie-brown PLEASE SIGN AND SHARE!!!!
Petition to Eric Webb, Lorena Stankevich
Support Montessori Education in our Orcas Island Public School
If you haven’t heard, the public elementary school is planning to phase out its Montessori program — effective immediately. That means they will not let any of our island’s first graders into the program for next year (or, if the program is discontinued, for any future year). This is a successful 15-year program, which is so popular that it often turns applicants away. The Montessori Advocacy for Public Schools coalition (MAPS) has formed in the past few weeks (since this news was quietly announced to a few select parents and stakeholders). We have been working to gain clarity and ensure that our voices are heard before a final decision is made about the educational options available to our island's children. The school board is holding a special meeting on this topic on June 18, and we would love to see you there. Here are the details for the school board meeting:When: Monday, June 18 at 5:00 p.m.Where: Orcas Island Public School You may not have children, you may homeschool, you may never want your own child to go through the Montessori program...but we're guessing that you want strong and diverse educational choices available in this community. It’s good for children, it’s good for our property values, and it showcases what’s possible for public education in rural communities like ours.Montessori has been proven to work in our nation's public schools. Here is a brief summary of the Riley Institute's landmark, four-year study of Montessori education in South Carolina’s public schools. The study was finalized in January 2018, so it is extremely timely: When compared to non-Montessori public school students across South Carolina, Montessori students were more likely to have met or exceeded the state standards in each of the four subjects measured. After matching Montessori students to demographically similar non-Montessori students and controlling for student demographics and previous test scores, researchers found that Montessori students scored significantly higher on ELA state standardized tests than non-Montessori students across all three years of the analysis. There was also a significant Montessori advantage in math and social studies in two of the three years. Montessori students were significantly less likely than similar non-Montessori students to have had a disciplinary incident during the school year. Nearly all educators that participated in the study reported loving or liking their job as a Montessori teacher (98%). This is substantially higher than the 89% of South Carolina educators on the 2015 Report Card Teacher Survey who strongly agreed or agreed that they were satisfied with their current working conditions (EOC, 2016). (Here’s the link to the Riley Institute study, if you’d like to learn more.)Our goal is to have the School Board request that the Elementary Principal, Lorena Stankevich, and Superintendent Eric Webb, wait one more year before making a final decision regarding the future of Montessori education at Orcas Island Elementary.In that year, the Coalition hopes to work with the school district to assess our children's and community's needs, the school's unique situation, and to determine whether and how the Montessori model can be sustained in the elementary school.If you know someone that would be interested in voicing their support for Montessori education in our public school, please forward this link.We would love to show the OISD School Board that community comes first and that our community cares deeply about this issue.Please sign onto this letter and come and show your support for public Montessori on June 18 at 5:00 p.m. at the Orcas Island Public School.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-. ADDENDUM LETTER TO SUPERINTENDENT ERIC WEB June 14, 2018 Eric Webb Superintendent, Orcas Island School District Via email Dear Eric, I appreciate your meeting with me as a representative of the Montessori Advocacy for Public Schools (MAPS) coalition and in my personal capacity as a parent of a public school Montessori student. Thank you very much for honoring our request to maintain the Montessori 1st-3rd grade class next year, for your commitment to finding a solution for continuing Montessori and for your desire to work collaboratively with parents and the community. Tony Ghazel, Chris Sutton, and Scott Lancaster said that they were most proud of hiring you during their tenure (Islands’ Sounder interview, November 2017). You have laid out a compelling vision for alignment for the School District for the next few years. As parents, we want to be a part of that success for the District, and for the elementary school in particular. We appreciate your sharing the proposal. We do, however, have several concerns. During the last School Board meeting, Principal Stankevich and some teachers voiced hesitations about the Montessori classroom: the children don’t integrate well with their friends; scarce parent time is concentrated in one classroom; quality education should be offered to all children in the school; and, fewer children with special needs in the Montessori classroom. In addition, it was stated that public education is not for a subsection of students, and that the label of Montessori brings more exclusivity. Yet, all of these conditions are exacerbated, not solved, by the idea of moving the Montessori classroom out of the elementary school and under the ALE OASIS School and in a separate building. In addition, we would appreciate more information regarding how the proposal would enable expansion in the likely scenario of increased demand and how it could support teacher collaboration. While we appreciate the District’s efforts to respond to the concerns and interests of the parents and community, we are most interested in a meaningful exploration of the concept of public school Montessori. There are over 200 public Montessori programs that co-exist in broader public elementary schools. This is the dominant model throughout South Carolina’s highly regarded public program studied in the Riley Institute’s groundbreaking report. It is possible to have both programs co-exist alongside each other; it will take some thoughtful planning to make it successful. We believe this systematic approach will enable the community to address key issues and develop long-term strategies and implementation plans together. It is also our hope that this strategic planning will lay the groundwork for the Orcas Island Elementary School to be an award winning school. Like you, our goal is to put children and their educational best interests at the center and use data and research to determine the best path forward. During this summer and the 2018-19 school year, we would like to work together with you to plan a vision for Orcas Island Elementary that will serve the best interests of ALL of our island’s children. Creating such a process would further the District’s goals of transparency, SIP’s priority on parental involvement, and would be a great way to bring the community together. We can help provide funding, select a few members to serve on the committee, bring in outside experts and problem solve other needs that arise. We want to help you create a win/win for the School District. You have a diverse community of people willing to lend their time and talents to help the District find a great solution for the children: parents, teachers, administrators, outside experts, Montessori supporters and others in the community who support proven diverse learning programs. We parents bring economic and cultural diversity, as well as children who have IEPs and special needs. The interest in the Montessori at the public school has always been high, from the start of the program to conversations about expansion a few years back to now. Rather than a short-term phenomenon, there is broad, sustained support for Montessori at the public school. We appreciate your decision to keep the Montessori program as-is. We look forward to working with you to finding a long-term solution through a public process. We will work with you to evaluate all the options and find the best solution for the children. Sincerely,Georgette Wong Beadnall (on behalf of 104+ members of the community as of June 17, 2018)
Petition to Concerned Residents of NoVa
Call to Delay Fairfax County School Board June 14 Vote on Family Life Curriculum Updates
June 7, 2018 To the Members of the Fairfax County School Board: We are writing to request an extension to the public comment period closing on June 8, on changes to the Family Life Education (FLE) curriculum and a delay of the June 14th Fairfax County School Board vote on approval of those changes. The steps taken to solicit broad-based community input on the proposal were inadequate, per the guidelines set forth by the Board of Education.[i] According to the required guidelines for implementation of the Board of Education’s approved Family Life Education program, which also pertains to programs developed locally, “There must be evidence of broad-based community involvement and an annual opportunity for parents and others to review curriculum and instructional materials prior to the beginning of actual instruction.” We, the undersigned, assert that the FCSB did not properly solicit input from the “broad-based community” or “others,” as alerts were sent primarily through the School Board’s newsletter, which only goes to parents of current students that have not chosen to opt-out. As such, residents of Fairfax County who do not have students currently enrolled in the school system, but otherwise pay taxes or may anticipate on sending their children to the public school, were not properly alerted to the process or the accompanying public input period. Furthermore, not being made aware of the opportunity for the public to weigh in suppresses residents’ first amendment rights. The proposed changes to the FLE curriculum as submitted by the FLE Curriculum Advisory Committee, which would be implemented as early as the fall for the 2018/2019 schoolyear if passed, deserve serious consideration from Fairfax County parents, residents and taxpayers.[ii] For example, there are four sections proposed that would add instruction on the PrEP drug (commercially known as Truvada[iii] from pharmaceutical manufacturer Gilead Sciences, Inc.), which is for very high-risk HIV populations.[iv] We hope that you consider our request for an extension of the public comment period and thus a delay on the scheduled June 14 vote on the FLE CAC recommendations. Full public participation, a variety of perspectives and community involvement is all critical to an open process. Important issues such as these that involve the well-being of children deserves a robust debate. Thank you for your consideration. [i] http://www.doe.virginia.gov/instruction/family_life_education/index.shtml[ii] https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5682e271a976af97bb8dde6a/t/5af4438988251bd3a02838b0/1525957513634/FLECAC+Annual+Recommendations+Report+May+10%2C+2018.pdf[iii]https://services.gileadhiv.com/content/pdf/TRUVADA_for_PrEP_Important_Facts.pdf[iv] https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/prep.html