Get Involved -- Committees
There are many ways to become involved with Parents Across America Oregon. You may want to begin by joining a committee. Click on any committee below to learn more about how you can join in the effort to protect, preserve, and promote quality public schools. To learn more about each committee, contact us by clicking on the buttons below.
So much to know, so little time! Host or join a book or film group. From David Berliner's eye-opening work Manufactured Crisis, to Diane Ravitch's best-selling book, Reign of Error, the demise of America's public schools has been well documented. Independent film makers have also produced stellar documentaries exposing the privatiztion of our public schools. The message is clear. Our public schools belong to all of us, and we aren't giving them up without a fight.
A picture is worth a 1,000 words. What do we mean by "Free Education?" Several things, really. First and foresmost, we must free education from the clutches of the mighty rich who want to privatize our public schools. Secondly, we must insure that K-12 public education is free for every student, and higher education should be free to students who qualify for entrance into state colleges and universities. Also, we plan free events to educate families and communities about the intrusion of big government and private industry into our public schoolsschools. Find an event to attend here.
Diane Ravitch is our hero. Even though she had a hand in creating the destructive policy of No Child Left Behind, when she realized it was harming children and teachers, she spoke out. She can't do it alone. We must speak up against injustice and inequity when we see it. In the words of indominatable Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." If you have a passion for public speaking or if you are just angry and can't take it anymore, consider becoming a member of our Speakers Bureau.
Research & Analysis
You've heard it time and time again, "It's all about the children." Although that may have been true at one time, today it's all about the MONEY. There are some pressing, essential questions that need to be researched and the truth brought to light. Why does Oregon no longer have an elected Superintendent of Public Instruction? Why do most of Oregon's top education officials have no education credentials? Why have millions and millions of dollars been awarded to nonprofit and for-profit corporations over the past several years in spite of the state's obligation to properly fund public education? Why have Oregon officials bought into the "test and punish" mentality despite parent protest that it is harmful to children? If your inquiring mind wants to know, join us.
Bloggers work with other committee members to document their research and write their stories on our blog. Bloggers document our actions and advocacy. They attend events, take photos, and report on them as soon as possible. Bloggers and writters are vital to getting our message out to the public-at-large. They may write letters-to-the editor, press releases, and guest columns in local newpapers. They are invaluable as an extra pair of eyes to edit our website and the writings of fellow authors. If reporting and writing are in your blood, become a blogger.
High stakes testing has led to a proliferation of data collection. As a condition of the NCLB waiver, Oregon was required to build and maintain a Student Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) to keep track of the students throughout their trek through public school. Sounds harmless enough, right? The SLDS is a monster load of the intimate details of your child’s daily school life. If that sounds like hyperbole, watch as a North Carolina teacher explains how just one company is mining student data using the teacher as an unwilling conduit in Knewton Datapalooza. Mining student data is big business and is a priority of the Oregon Department of Education.
Parents have figures out one strategy to stop the privatization of our public schools is to refuse the test. Without data from standardized test, the reformster movement falls flat on its face. PAA Oregon joins many other organizations from across the nation in standing up to billionaires and saying, "My child is not a guinea pig! My child is not a data point! My child is much more than a test score!" We are affiliated with Oregon Save Our Schools, United Opt Out, FairTest, the Network for Public Education, and many more organizations that are standing strong against high stakes testing and the privatization of education.
Media and Social Media
To educate and mobilize Oregon parents, we need volunteers with graphic design, photography, production, technical, and social media skills. No expertise required -- just a little knowledge and the willingness to jump in at a moment’s notice to help spread the word about actions and events as they occur. Currently, we have a website, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts that require frequent moderation. We also need to have reliable people to contact news outlets in advance to cover events and publish stories in newspapers, on radio, and television. Media members will give life force to our efforts.
Parents Across America Oregon is a chapter of the national organization Parents Across America, a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization. We are a grassroots, an all-volunteer organization that runs on people power. We don't have paid staff. We exist off small grants and donations from individuals who see the value of parents having an equitable voice in matters that concern the education of their children. Fundraisers plan events and develop revenue streams to pay the expenses of PAA Oregon. If you have a flare for planning galas, auctions, charity sales, or gofundme projects, we could use your talent. Learn more about our needs and expenses on our Donate page.