Know Your State Astroturf Parent/Education Groups

By Nancy Bailey for nancybailey.com

When an alleged ‘grassroots, family-led group of ‘ordinary moms’ begins their existence with a budget of more than $1 million, you can be certain there were no bake sales.

~Diane Ravitch comment in Maurice Cunningham: The Rise of an Astroturf Rightwing “Parents” Group.

The seeds of change are cultivated from the ground up at the grassroots level, but what if the seeds are scattered above the ground? Fake grassroots groups, aptly named Astroturf groups, are formed from the top down and are designed to promote their donors’ agenda. It’s important to know which education advocacy groups are supportive of public schools.

Public Education Partners (PEP)

Public Education Partners (PEP) of Ohio is a statewide, grassroots organization whose mission is to preserve, protect, and strengthen public education. The PEP Board is an all-volunteer group of educators and administrators, public school board and city council members, and parents of Ohio public school students.

PEP took root because traditional public schools in Ohio have suffered from an unreasonable number of education policies dealing with high-stakes testing, private/parochial school vouchers, unaccountable charter schools, and other mandates which compete for school district resources already diminished by drastic budget cuts. Students have never been under more developmentally inappropriate and highly stressful policies than what we see in our public schools today.

Local and regional public school advocacy groups have cropped up all over the state to raise awareness of what’s at stake in public education and to fight for change.

One dynamic example is the Heights Coalition for Public Education in Cleveland Heights, a group of concerned community members who have recently been studying school funding, writing letters to the editor, contacting state leaders, and testifying to the Statehouse about the need to pass Ohio’s Fair School Funding plan. The school funding plan came from a bipartisan workgroup of legislators and school finance experts that developed a comprehensive formula to reduce the over-reliance on local property tax and create equity in the state foundation system.

Read more here.

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