Standing Together for Strong Community Schools

Tennesseans invested in local public education.


Join Us. We Are Ready to Advocate for Public Education in 2014.

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The Tennessee General Assembly is back in session for 2014 and education legislation is front and center affecting all Tennesseans. We are back and ready to get to work educating legislators, parents, and citizens across the state about the dire consequences of legislation, pushed by special interest groups, that will negatively impact our public schools, teachers and tax dollars. We will also be sharing legislation that will help public education and return the parent and teacher voice to decision making. We have been quietly building our state network over the last half of 2013 and are looking to begin a new initiative. More and more people across Tennessee are speaking out against mismanaged, underfunded reform mandates.

So to renew our focus and bring commitment to a larger group of state-wide activists we have joined under a non-profit called Tennesseans Reclaiming Educational Excellence or TREE. We hope you will continue to support our effort to speak for public school parents, teachers and advocates. Please follow TREE as we work with the General Assembly to help educate on the perspective of the real impact on public school reform.

TREE has a broader focus beyond the state authorizer and voucher bills that ST4SCS focused on last year. Read about that focus HERE. We will also be sharing our email list with TREE and this ST4SCS site will stand as a reference point. We will begin putting our volunteer energy into TREE’s message. We look forward to working with TREE and all Tennesseans to be a voice that is “ROOTED IN FIGHTING FOR STRONG, EQUITABLE PUBLIC EDUCATION AND IS COMMITTED TO GROWING CHILD-CENTERED EDUCATION POLICY.”

Thank you for supporting us and encouraging us to grow our effort.

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We are Being Silenced by Our TN State Government

PLEASE CALL TODAY: The Education Committee continues to refuse an opportunity for us to speak. ST4SCS has representatives arriving on capital hill as this is being posted. Please call Representative Brook’s office and Rep. White’s ASAP and tell them you do not want a Charter Authorizer Bill HB702/SB830 and Standing Together for Strong Community Schools needs an opportunity to speak. They are ignoring us.

Rep. Mark White from Memphis is the bill sponsor.
(615) 741-4415
mark.white@capitol.tn.gov

Rep. Brooks
(615) 741-6879.

Also we have a source that says Nashville’s own Mayor Karl Dean is behind the Authorizer bill. Call or email his office and let him know how you feel.

mayor@nashville.gov

615-862-6000

Here is the HB702/SB830 Amendment they are trying to push through with no discussion. Please read.

Amend HB702


Educating On the Issues of A State Authorizer and Vouchers

Standing Together for Strong Community Schools is pleased with the response and reception we have received from around the State of Tennessee. We are uniting the voices of like-minded citizens and gathering information to help the legislature understand that implementing a state charter authorizer and vouchers removes local control and siphons off precious education dollars. These initiatives are not in the best interest of the children of TN. Please continue to check our website and “like” our Facebook page to find out ways you can ask our legislators to vote “NO” on both of these upcoming pieces of legislation. Please consider signing up for our mailing list to receive information on upcoming exclusive events and important alerts.

If you are undecided on these issues, here are some articles that might help.

READ ABOUT ISSUES ON THE CHARTER AUTHORIZER AND VOUCHERS

VOUCHERS AND SCHOOL FINANCE: SAVING THE STATEHOUSE $
“Vouchers would ultimately prevent a decrease in education costs.”

GROW SOME JUEVOS (EGGS) ON CHARTERS!
Cloaking Inequity – Julian Vasquez Heilig’s Education and Public Policy Blog

VOUCHERS WILL HURT PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Op-Ed from the Tennessean

STANFORD: WALL STREET GANG NOW OFFER EDUCATION CHOICES
About a quarter of the kids in the San Antonio School District Attend Charters…

NASHVILLE PARENTS PRESS FIGHT ON VOUCHERS, CHARTER AUHTORIZER
“Vouchers would just take money out of an already low-funded school system,” Patton said. “And it’s not a panacea. They’ve not necessarily been shown to raise student achievement.”

NEW GROUP FORMS TO FIGHT VOUCHERS, OPPOSE EDUCATION “SPECIAL INTERESTS”.
Standing Together for Strong Community Schools

VOUCHERS DON’T GET TO THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM
“Rather than treating children like so many peas in a shell game, our leaders should focus on improving schools.”

RESEARCH EVIDENCE VS. SOARING IDEOLOGY: SCHOOL VOUCHERS AND ACHEIVEMENT
“It is very difficult to find rigorous scientific studies conclusively demonstrating that vouchers have a positive, empirically measurable impact on student achievement”


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What Does a Strong Community School Look Like?

We are told by our school administration and our state government we should be engaged parents and citizens. I feel this site gives us a voice. I wonder if lawmakers and policy makers will be listening? Many times we are asked, “What do you want for your schools?” So let’s put together a wish list. Interestingly, I feel most lists made out by any education group might look the same. We need to work together to find a way to make this list a reality. We know what a strong school looks like. We should be able to decide locally how to create it.

Do we need a state-level charter authorizer or vouchers to make this list happen? That is the question we all keep asking ourselves. Why does it take totally dismantling and privatizing to create education quality? And how might those changes affect the good results already happening in system? We feel there are great things on this list that ARE happening at the school and district level in both charter and zoned schools. We hope to bring them to your attention on this site.

WISH LIST
Look for these topics to be addressed in individual posts in the weeks to come.
Smaller Class Sizes
Better Funding
Teacher Training
More Technology Tools
Site-Based Managed Schools
Wellness Programs
Art & Music
Physical Education
Foreign Language
Facilities Improvements
Support for the Disabled
More Recess Time for Elementary School
Strong Academics
Allow all Children to Reach Their Individual Academic Potential
Value Progress Over Benchmarks
True College Prep
True Career Prep
Social Emotional Development
Close the Digital Divide
Safe Schools
Head Start/Preschool Funding
Support for Children of Poverty
Services for Diverse Communities
Mental Health Programs
Mind The Gap
Food Quality
Hands-on help in the classroom to service testing and return teachers to teaching.

Want to add to this list?
Email us. info@strongcommunityschools.com


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What About Vouchers?

Here are some of our concerns about school vouchers:
  • Vouchers have not been proven to work. Despite built-in screening advantages for private schools, reports on voucher experiments in cities such as Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Washington, D.C. show these programs have not been successful in consistently raising student academic achievement.
  • Vouchers eliminate public accountability. Vouchers channel tax dollars into private schools that do not face state-approved academic standards, do not make budgets public, do not adhere to open meetings and records laws, do not publicly report on student achievement, and do not face the public accountability requirements contained in state and federal laws, including special-education laws.
  • Vouchers avert the will of citizens because, while public schools are run by elected school boards,  private schools are led by appointed boards/administrators. Vouchers remove the right of voters to make their voices heard in how they want their schools/school boards run.
  • Vouchers leave behind many disadvantaged and special needs students because private schools may not accept them or do not offer the special services they need. (Unlike public schools, private schools are not legally required to provide special education services.)
  • Vouchers do not truly provide school choice because private schools ultimately choose who they will admit to their institutions. In addition, private schools may, without warning, expel a student who does not meet their expectations.
  • Vouchers divert attention, commitment, and dollars from public schools to subsidize private-school tuition for a few students, including many who already attend private schools, creating new costs for taxpayers. A dollar spent on a tuition voucher is a dollar drained from public education.