PSAT for 8-13-13: Take Action!


I’m recasting this Take Action piece which I presented last week at the Education for Democracy plenary of the Democracy Convention in Madison WI as your Public Schools Action Tuesday recommendation for today.

What can I say? It’s gorgeous out and I’m heading for the patio!

What you can do about some of the hot issues in public education

Downloadable pdf version here. Also, see companion piece, “How They’ve Been Taking the Public and Education out of Public Education.”

  • Track federal ESEA reauthorization (PURE and PAA have news services to help you – see below). The federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) expired in 2007 but Congress has yet to agree on how to fix it. Unfortunately, the “bipartisan” take on education looks a lot like the corporate reform version – charter schools, parent “choice,” testing. Please see PAA’s charts comparing the Republican House and Senate Democratic proposals (attached). Experts we listen to do not think an agreement is possible in the next year or two, but it is still important to inform and influence your representatives. Proposals or parts of proposals that are in the works now can end up as federal law.
  • Watch out in your own state for some of the following (PAA news lists will help with this – see below):
    • Parent trigger and other “parent empowerment” laws
    • Voucher bills
    • Final mandates for test-based teacher evaluation
    • State boards of education agreeing to share confidential student data without parental consent
    • Other testing mandates related to the Common Core
  • Join PURE’s news list: or just use the link at the top of our web site home page, You will receive regular posts – news, opinion, and a weekly action alert for Chicago and/or the nation.
  • Join Parents Across America’s newsletter list: or click on “Take Action” at the top of our home page, You will receive a weekly newsletter with updates about PAA and our chapters and affiliates, and a weekly action alert. Join the PAA News listfor regular news and updates on education: Send an e-mail to
  • Consider starting a PAA chapter. Chapter leaders should be current or former public school parents. Details here:
  • Why would anyone who cares about public schools shop at WalMart? When you shop at WalMart and other businesses, your money ends up paying Michelle Rhee, Teach for America, and fat cat charter school operators. Boycott them and spread the word!
  • Sign the National Resolution on High Stakes Testing ( If you belong to a group, have them endorse it, too.

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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.