public schools

94 petitions

Update posted 1 week ago

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)

Montessori Advocacy for Public Schools coalition (MAPS)
230 supporters
Update posted 2 weeks ago

Petition to Louisiana State House, Louisiana State Senate, Arkansas State Senate, Arkansas State House, Tennessee State House, Tennessee State Senate, Florida State Senate, Florida State House, Alabama State Senate, Alabama State House, Arizona State House, Arizona State Senate, South Carolina State House, South Carolina State Senate, North Carolina State House, North Carolina State Senate, Pennsylvania State House, Pennsylvania State Senate, Oklahoma State Senate, Oklahoma State House, Kentucky State Senate, Kentucky State House, U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate

Remove "In God We Trust" from Public Schools

According to an article by, "Six primarily Southern states — Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama and Arizona — have approved legislation since last year explicitly requiring or allowing public schools to display the words 'In God We Trust'... States such as [Kentucky,] South Carolina, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Oklahoma have proposed similar bills" ( This is a blatant contradiction to the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment, which states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Especially in public schools, in which students are 1) impressionable; and 2) do not possess the appropriate knowledge or life experience to decide on religious beliefs for themselves, this bold assertion of religious endorsement should absolutely not be displayed in public schools across the country -- not to mention, it is equally as inappropriate to force religious association upon school staff members and families. It is time for the United States government to hold true to its secular foundation, which accommodates to individuals who hold a vast spectrum of religious beliefs and others who hold no religious beliefs at all. Federal legislation barring the states from using such glaring methods of discrimination and intimidation in the name of religion must be passed as long as we want to continue to pride ourselves on being "the Home of the Free." Freedom of religion implies freedom from religion.

Raghen Lucy
601 supporters
Started 3 weeks ago

Petition to Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump, The White House

We demand Betsy DeVos to resign as United States Secretary of Education!

This fall of 2018, 56.6 million of our youth will attend elementary and secondary schools...50.7 million of those students will be enrolled in public school(1). That means 90% of students are educated through the public school system, and growing. Yet Betsy DeVos shows a complete disregard for the well-being of these students, and also shows a lack of understanding of what our public schools truly need. Since taking office on February 7th, 2017, our Education Secretary has been relentless in her efforts to cause severe harm to public schools nationwide, while promoting private and charter schools. DeVos’ and the current administration’s push for “school choice” has left our public school system high and dry. This year’s education budget saw a near $4 billion cut, most of which from the elimination of after-school programs that less fortunate students have come to rely on, and also cuts that would have funded vital training programs for teachers. DeVos has also not shied away from college campuses either. Most recently, she proposed a new plan to strengthen the rights of students accused of assault, harassment or rape, also shielding colleges and universities from any liability(2). Not to mention cutting funding for college work-study programs and her attempts to eliminate public-service loan forgiveness. I have yet to discuss her qualifications, as she has never been an educator, nor has she ever been in charge of any department comparable to the size, budget, and significance that the Education Department holds. We can do better. Our school children and college students deserve better. Please sign this petition, and let’s demand that Betsy DeVos steps down as United States Secretary of Education. Our public school system has already been struggling with funding and resources for students, but now it is being completely dismantled with its funding dwindling. We have to step up and speak out before the damage becomes irreparable. Betsy DeVos has to go!  —Small list of other Betsy DeVos controversies (not all inclusive): -Blocked the Obama Administration’s protections for students attending for-profit colleges(3).-Has done nothing to enforce civil rights protections for minority, LGBT and disabled students(4)-Has proposed using federal education funds to arm teachers in schools(5) ***References: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)

Dajonte Holsey
109 supporters
Started 2 months ago

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.

New Voices Texas
223 supporters