Thousands Of Parents, Teachers Mobilize To Improve Public Education For Every Child

WASHINGTON – A group of national leaders in education today announced the largest-ever grassroots mobilization for public education on a conference call with reporters. The National Education Association, MoveOn.org, Campaign for America’s Future, ACORN, NAACP Voter Fund and U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute joined forces to drive the National Mobilization for Great Public Schools.

The National Mobilization for Great Public Schools is an innovative campaign that combines modern Internet technology with traditional organizing efforts. In addition to the serious need to fix and fund the so-called No Child Left Behind Act, the mobilization will address the broader challenges and opportunities facing our nation’s public schools. Thousands of teachers, parents and concerned citizens will gather on September 22nd in homes across the country to discuss the challenges we face and commit to building the mobilization needed to rouse the nation to make education a top priority.

With more than 2.7 million members and affiliates in every state, NEA President Reg Weaver highlighted the breadth of the national mobilization on the conference call.

“Just imagine on the night of September 22, thousands of Americans meeting in living rooms, libraries and schools across this nation to discuss the successes, challenges and opportunities in America’s public education system,” said Weaver. “We are organizing the greatest mobilization for public education ever.”

Campaign for America’s Future Co-director Robert Borosage explained that the coalition will work hard to ensure every child great public schools that include a healthy start, smaller class sizes, safer schools, parental involvement and an affordable college education.

“We know what basic building blocks are needed for a good education and our nation is failing to provide more and more children with those basics,” said Borosage. “This is not about just narrow reforms and the lack of resources for education. We believe we must make education a higher priority from the community to the federal government if we are to provide every child access to a high-quality education.”

MoveOn.org Co-founder Joan Blades explained today that the power of grassroots organizing and its importance in democracy and elevating key issues in the national debate is a key component to any campaign. MoveOn.org has 2.5 million activists in the United States alone and is a pioneer in online organizing.

“We must make educating our children a top priority and support leadership locally and nationally that share this goal,” said Blades. “Our leaders need to hear the voices of teachers and parents- the voices of those closest to the classrooms who know what children need the best. By joining together we amplify each other’s voices.”

ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, is the country’s largest organization of low to moderate income people and has a unique perspective on the nation’s public schools.

“Our members see No Child Left Behind as just another false promise, like a check that has been written to us and then voided. Schools across the country are attempting to teach kids without textbooks, cutting programs from the arts to physical education and doing it all in decades old facilities that are badly in need of repair,” said ACORN’s National President Maude Hurd.

Coy Marquardt, a junior high teacher from Iowa City, also joined today’s conference call. Marquardt recently signed up to host an education house party to talk about key education issues.

“I decided to host a house party because it is imperative that the voices of the teachers are heard. After all, we are the ones who have to face the many challenges of trying to provide a great public education for every child,” said Marquardt. “I will have other teachers and local leaders in my community over to my house so we can discuss important educational issues.”

Pat Boone, mother and grandparent from Brooklyn, New York, was also on hand to discuss the need for updated school facilities, technology and resources in the classroom.

“Teachers and parents aren’t magicians, we can’t magically prepare our children for the future without the needed resources,” said Boone. “Without adequate resources what will happen to our children, in the next two decades?”

**NOTE: Media representatives interested in more information about the national mobilization for great public schools should visit www.greatpublicschools.org or contact Toby Chaudhuri at chaudhuri@ourfuture.org.**