Building connections at Parents Across America forum
Last Monday, February 7th, several members of the Rochester, NY-based Community Education Task Force traveled to downtown Manhattan to participate in the first Parents Across America national forum. Leonie Haimson is the head of Class Size Matters, co-founder of Parents Across America, an NYC parent, and a strong education advocate. Haimson hosted the event and provided excellent details on the numerous speakers at the event who spoke of the myriad issues in education nationally. The keynote speaker, Diane Ravitch, provided an insightful, passionate analysis of where we are in education as well as where we are going.
Powerful testimonies came forward from such advocates as Karran Harper Royal of the Pyramid Community Parent Resource Center and the Southern Poverty Law Center detailed the horrific misuse of the word “choice” in New Orleans:
It was fantastic to listen, learn, and build with the many parents, teachers, and community advocates. Julie Woestehoff of PURE in Chicago gave a scathing review of how high-stakes testing has damaged education in Chicago.
Sue Peters from PAA Seattle also gave a valuable analysis of how venture philanthropy has damaged education in Seattle. Her acute understanding of how both the Gates and Broad Foundations influence educational policy proved telling for us in the audience.
Julie Menin, the chair of Community Board 1 in lower Manhattan also provided an excellent perspective on how overcrowding and the selection of Cathie Black have affected the reality on the ground in the community.
This experience was definately worthwhile, as the movement for resistence and alternatives to the current corporate narrative in education continues to grow.