It’s time to circle the wagons, folks. No doubt about it, public education is under attack. So it’s heartening to see advocates standing up, speaking out, and organizing a summit to rally the troops for the long battle ahead.
Last week I was invited by Public Education Partners’ Jeanne Melvin to a summit in Dublin, Ohio, on Oct. 17 titled, “Public Education Matters.” The event will be a statewide conference for parents, teachers and any other Ohioan who is concerned about issues impacting schools.
Participants will learn ways they can advocate for kids and schools, an event invitation says, and participants will connect with others from across the state who believe that great public schools are of critical importance.
“Traditional public schools have been inundated with so many education policies dealing with high-stakes testing, vouchers, unaccountable for-profit charter schools, and other mandates which compete for district resources that have been diminished by drastic budget cuts,” Melvin wrote in an email this week.
Melvin was an educator for 36 years before retiring in 2014, she said.
“From the time I began teaching in 1975, I saw many changes in Ohio schools—most for the good, but many for the not-so-good,” she wrote. “As a retired teacher, I became involved in public education advocacy, because it’s too painful to stand by while our children suffer at the hands of education profiteers.”
Students have never been under more developmentally inappropriate and highly stressful policies than what we see in public schools today, Melvin testified truth.
“Because our school children have essentially become guinea pigs for poorly developed educational legislation, a grassroots movement has developed all over the state with people joining together to raise awareness of what’s at stake in public education,” she wrote.
This is why Melvin and others formed Public Education Partners (PEP) in 2014 as an organization meant to unite the growing number of public school advocacy groups.
According to Melvin, PEP is a nonprofit nonpartisan group that was formed
(a) To support publicly accountable Ohio schools for all students.
(b) To advocate for equitably funded public schools that offer a full and rich curriculum to all children.
(c) To promote the elimination of high-stakes tests for the evaluation of students, teachers, and schools.
(d) To connect various public education advocacy groups throughout the state.
(e) To provide this coalition with the tools needed to effectively advocate for public education.
It can be found here on Facebook.
Public Education Partners is presenting its statewide education summit, Public Education Matters, on Saturday, October 17 in Dublin, Ohio, with Innovation Ohio’s Stephen Dyer and school superintendent Tom Dunn as speakers, as well as breakout sessions geared at organizing the network of public education supporters around Ohio, Melvin said.
Education activist and historian Diane Ravitch recently shared the event on her blog. Ravitch’s book, “Reign of Error” is a must-read for anybody who believes in restoring the promise of public education.
“Our children deserve a quality public education and equitable public schools,” Melvin wrote, encouraging Ohioans who are concerned about public education to come to the event to discuss the challenges facing public education and to learn how to advocate for strong public schools for our children.
Tickets are $15 and registration can be obtained by following this link.
D.C. DeWitt is a writer and man of sport and leisure. He has also written for Government Executive online, the National Journal’s Hotline, and The New York Observer’s Politicker.com. He is the Associate Editor of The Athens NEWS in Athens, Ohio. DeWitt can be found on Facebook and Twitter @DC_DeWitt.