public schools

65 petitions

Started 3 weeks ago

Petition to Charlie Baker, Massachusetts State House, Massachusetts State Senate

Establish 8:30 AM as Earliest Public High School Start Time

Among Massachusetts students, especially High School students, many are faced with sleep deprivation due to early start times to the public school day. In 2014, Algonquin Regional High School reported that 52% of its students got 6 hours or less of sleep throughout a regular school week. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the needed amount of sleep for people aged 14-17 is 8-10 hours. 8-10 hours. Teenagers cannot simply solve this issue by going to bed earlier. Teens “circadian rhythm” (or internal sleep clock, so to speak) causes them to actually sleep and wake later naturally. By allowing early start times we are actually putting our students health at risk as well. Teenagers who do not get adequate sleep (8-10 hours), of which there are many (87% of high school students, according to a National Sleep Foundation poll), are more likely to engage in risky behavior (like experimenting with substances), and are more prone to mental illnesses like depression or similar conditions and symptoms such as anxiety. School districts in Massachusetts such as Nauset have reported positive results after establishing a later start time. The Cape Cod Times reported a 30% decrease in tardiness shortly after Nauset changed its start time in 2012. In addition to tardiness falling, across the first two months of the school year, there was a 53% drop in failing grades, while Ds and Fs fell 38%. In 2014, the Sharon High School Principal reported positive outcomes of an 8:05 AM start time to WGBH, and results similar to that of Nauset. Less students were late, and, according to him, more came ready to learn. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), early school start times are a cornerstone contributor to sleep deprivation among teens. The AAP states that an estimated 40% of schools have start times prior to 8:00 AM (2014). Why 8:30 AM? In August of 2014 the AAP, in a policy statement, recommended that all middle and high schools delay their start times to 8:30 AM. According to the AAP’s statement this will accommodate the sleep rhythms of adolescent students which can move significantly later in the night during puberty. A mandated start time of 8:30 AM or later would nearly ensure more sleep for students on average. Research conducted over three years at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement found that when Minneapolis Public School’s changed to a start time of 8:30 AM, the results were overwhelmingly positive. 60% of students reported getting 8 hours of sleep or more. My Perspective  As a current High School Student I find myself often concerned for my closest friends, who like many in our academically competitive state seek success and acknowledgment . Often I hear of how late my friends have stayed up to complete school work, or of how many all nighters have been pulled that week just to get by. At times it becomes unbearable for these students and they have to start taking days off, just to catch-up, or just to rest in bed. Massachusetts provides its youth with the best educational system anywhere in the country. Massachusetts can help it’s youth student population by working on legislation that would establish a public school high school start time no earlier than 8:30 AM. Logistical challenges may follow, but can we let them get in the way of the Massachusetts student’s health, academic success, and his/her future?    

Paul R
87 supporters
Update posted 1 month ago

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 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.  

Ryan Leach
1,912 supporters
Update posted 1 month ago

Petition to Dr. Chris Lowder, David Harrison, Carolyn Carpenter, Barry Shoemaker, Cindy Fertenbaugh, Vince Powell, Robert Walter, Bill Dusch, Brian Hiatt, Peter Franzese, Samuel Leder, W. Brian King, Ella Mae Small, Alfred M. Brown, Jr., Jennifer Parsley, John Sweat, Jr., J. Scott Padgett, Blake Kiger, Diane R. Honeycutt, Elizabeth “Liz” Poole, Lynn Shue, Stephen (Steve) Morris, David Burpeau, Richard Hudson


CITIZENS AGAINST CLOSING CONCORD’S NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOLS   On December 11, 2017, the Cabarrus County Board of Education will vote on whether to close the doors of Beverly Hills Elementary School forever, and send its students to Royal Oaks Elementary in Kannapolis.  The proposal to close Beverly Hills Elementary foreshadows a disturbing trend toward sacrificing traditional neighborhood schools for overbuilt and overbudget “mega-schools.”   The Beverly Hills community is heartsick at the thought that we might lose our beloved elementary school.  The effect a closure would have on the children, their parents, and the neighborhood is appalling.  We — the Beverly Hills community — feel it is our responsibility to sound the alarm and warn our Concord neighbors who cherish R. Brown McAllister Elementary School and Coltrane Webb Elementary School: if our neighborhood school falls, yours WILL be next.     The FAQ section of the school board’s website contains this question: “Is the county trend toward bigger elementary schools and away from neighborhood schools?”  The school board’s answer: “To be good stewards of tax payer dollars and for the purposes of growth, the current plan size of an elementary school is around 940 students.”  In other words, “YES” – under the guise of financial responsibility, neighborhood schools are on the way out.  However, it is not financial responsibility that is the driving force behind closing neighborhood schools, but a general lack of imagination in planning, and a failure to recognize that a school is so much more than a building. Please sign this petition to let the Cabarrus County Board of Education and the Cabarrus County Commissioners know that Concord values its neighborhood schools, and our citizens will never accept any plan that locks the doors to our small neighborhood schools.    

3,917 supporters
Update posted 1 month ago

Petition to Duane Coleman, Robert Gleisberg, Ann Corwin, Emily Ortiz Wichman, Mike Blessing, Eleanor Juanita Evans, Shannon Soto, Cheri Sanders - Associate Superintendent Human Resources, Todd McAteer, Kathy Ferguson, David Morrow

Give the Oceanside Unified teachers a fair and equitable contract!

For over 500 days, the teachers of Oceanside have been embroiled in negotiations with the Oceanside Unified School District. Many of us, as parents, had no idea about what was going on with our teachers... and now that we do we want to have a voice to our district about doing what is fair for our teachers that do so much for us.  Much of the negotiations have been due to our district's claims that there are not enough funds to support cost of living increases for our teachers and they actually need to take a pay cut in the form of insurance caps. Utilizing a contractor's assessment of our districts budget, the district has said our schools are in dire straits and must cut budgets with our teacher's pay and benefits. While there is no dispute regarding a decline in census, there is significant dispute over the impartiality of this study paid for by the district. At the latest meeting, the outside contractor was unable to defend the validity of many aspects of said report, casting a questionable light on many of the findings.  While our district has stated there are no funds to supply our teachers with cost of living adjustments or benefit coverages, they have found funds for other incidentals such as raises for non-teachers (administrative staff), programs without proven outcomes, contractors, and substantial fees for a top notch negotiating team including litigators.  Our teachers are the lifeline to our schools and need to be treated as such. Without our teachers, our schools will not run and our students will fail. OUSD declared an impasse with negotiations after the teachers declined to not only a 0% cost of living adjustment for the last two years, but a cap on insurance costs paid by the district, effectively giving teachers a pay cut with standard rising costs of insurance over the coming years. Our teachers are not being greedy or unrealistic, they are asking to be fairly compensated for their hard work after having been patient for almost 2 years. We as a community need to stand up for our teachers immediately, we need to tell our district that our teachers are mission critical and that we will not accept this behavior!

Citizens of Oceanside
2,087 supporters