PAA wants US House Ed Committee to open debate

The Education and Workforce Committee of the US House of 
Representatives is holding hearings on "innovation" in education
policy today. The  list of witnesses completely excludes the people
who have the greatest stake in public school improvement - parents.
The witnesses also represent a single, ideologically driven approach 
to educational policy that has yet to produce significant benefits for
American schoolchildren.  

All four witnesses are pro-privatization: Dr. Tony Bennett, Indiana 
Superintendent of Public Instruction, a strong supporter of charter schools and "virtual charter school"
expansion; Lisa Graham Keegan of Education Breakthrough Network, a supporter of vouchers, high
stakes testing and charter schools; Andrew Coulson of the CATO Institute, yet another supporter of
charter expansion and vouchers; and Ted Mitchell, CEO of the New Schools Venture Fund, which funds
charter school expansion. 

The founding members of Parents Across America spoke out against this unbalanced hearing:  

"It is not in the best interests of children if House Committee members only hear testimony from 
people who support the current corporate agenda of further privatization, charter expansion, and 
high-stakes testing. The majority of public school parents oppose these strategies, and we know
that none of them have worked to improve schools in Chicago or anywhere else in the nation," 
said Julie Woestehoff of Chicago's PURE and a co-founder of PAA. "We call on the committee
to act responsibly and also hear other viewpoints including those of parents, who have the most at 
stake in these decisions." 

"Experimentation on children with unproven fads is not 'innovation,' " said PAA founding member
Caroline Grannan of San Francisco. "We need reforms that have been proven to work, like smaller 
classes, encouraging parent involvement, and meaningful assessment instead of battering our children
with endless bubble-in tests. Parents want reforms that improve schools rather than weakening them."

Leonie Haimson of New York City's Class Size Matters and Parents Across America concluded: 
"These points of view do not represent 'innovation' but privatization. The federal government seems
intent on large scale experimentation on our children without parent consent. We demand that public
school parents, as the most important stakeholders, be given a chance to testify at every Congressional
education hearing from now on. These are our children, and our voices must be heard." 

Tags: , , , ,

Comments are closed.

Support PURE!
About the PURE Thoughts blogger
Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.