LP School Board Download 📚 | States’ voucher push, honest education, an important staff update | February 2024

Welcome back to the LP School Board Download – our monthly newsletter about all things school board! This month, we’re sharing the latest news and resources around defending LGBTQ+ rights, fighting voucher expansion, and advocating for strong, equitable public schools across the country.

In case you missed it…here's what it means to be an LP school board member! 

As we start 2024, we’re proud to share our School Board Cohort Statement of Values. This statement of values unites school board members in Local Progress under a set of shared values that guides our work together. It was created collectively through an iterative process over the last year – including several rounds of consultation and feedback on an initial draft – before being ratified through our School Board Steering Committee. The statement embodies what it means to be a progressive school board member that is unapologetically fighting for a thriving public education system.  If you know of other values-aligned school board board members, share the statement of values to bring more school board members into the network today. 

How State Voucher Efforts Are Accelerating.

Last year saw a disturbing amount of movement in the push to erode public education through voucher programs passing in state legislatures across the country. One bright spot: Texas legislators had four special sessions to pass vouchers, but ultimately failed to pass this priority of Governor Greg Abbott. In many states, budget gaps have widened as the cost of subsidizing private school tuition increases. Despite often being framed as an opportunity for students currently struggling in public schools, data show that many of the families taking advantage of vouchers already enroll their children in private schools. Josh Cowen summarizes how the push for privatization is rapidly accelerating

Find messaging, analysis, fact sheets and more resources to fight for public education at the Truth In Education Funding website from our allies at the Partnership for the Future of Learning.

Pennsylvania budget proposal would mean a record increase in public school funding.

Governor Josh Shapiro’s 2024-25 budget proposal includes a historic $1.1 billion increase in public school funding, which would be disbursed through a court-mandated formula to reach the students and districts most in need. This win for longtime organizers throughout Pennsylvania comes one year after the state Supreme Court ruled Pennsylvania’s funding model to be unconstitutional. Notably, the proposal does not include a voucher program, which the Governor attempted to create last year and has declared to be “unfinished business.”

resources

How to Talk About HONEST, INCLUSIVE EDUCATION with Family & Friends. As manufactured attacks on public education proliferate in this country, it is important to take back our voice and initiate conversations with our loved ones to unite around one strong message – public schools are the bedrock of our democracy. 

Freedom to Learn Series: Weaponizing Books to Halt Students’ Freedom to Read. Our students deserve to be taught truth in schools and have access to books that will enrich their learning. As school districts continue to ban books at an alarming rate, local communities can organize to fight back from the local level to the state level.

member spotlight

Dr. Tarece Johnson has served Gwinnett County Public Schools since 2021. She joined Local Progress and hit the ground running, providing her expertise on culturally responsive education (CRE) at last year’s school board convening in Baltimore. As a member, she really enjoys engaging with other elected school board members in authentic learning and discussions – actively working towards necessary change that benefits all communities, especially historically marginalized groups. She looks forward to continuing this work in diverse spaces with leaders who courageously challenge status-quo that does not serve the needs of ALL people. She now serves on LP’s School Board Steering Committee.

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