Wednesday, September 16, 2015

What Next?

Update: this is amazing to me (from today at the Facebook Soup for Teachers):

Hey Souper Troopers. We have officially checked in with EVERY SCHOOL IN THE DISTRICT!!! Last night I got a message from Pam Klein-Farrow with a contact at Seattle World, the last school I had absolutely no word on. They didn't have support this week, so I'm thrilled to say that they're getting coffee, fruit, muffins, and sandwiches today, thanks to Pam, Tully's on Aloha, and Jody Rachelle and her family, who are making sandwiches as we speak. We are here for the teachers because they're here for our students. We will continue to work to support the educators, from within their own communities and communities all across the city, to get them the resources they need to make their schools the places our kids deserve.

end of update.

I have not heard back from the Soup for Teachers group about what they will do next with their incredibly effective group.  I would love to see a more pro-active parent group that advocates for specifics in Seattle Schools.

However, for funding, there is a great new group called Washington's Paramount Duty (based on our state constitution that SAYS that the "paramount duty" of the state is to "amply fund" public education).  Here's their Facebook page.  They now have - in just a couple of days - over a 1,000 members.  From the Facebook page:

Welcome to the group. As the description says, we're a grassroots group of concerned citizens and organizations who believe that our children have waited long enough for an adequately funded basic education.

A small group of us met last weekend to talk about what to do in response to the amazing outpouring of support for our teachers in Seattle, and how to harness that energy now that more and more parents are realizing just how broken our education funding is. 

Apparently our legislators say they don't hear from people on this issue. Unsurprising - it's hard to manage a public advocacy campaign when you can't even get your 5 year old to put on his or her pants fast enough to get to school on time (we've all been there as parents, haven't we?)...
So our response was to create this group, as a focal point for the conversation about fully funding education, and to push that demand forward. 

We are still very new (48 hours old as I write) and we're scrambling to get things going. For example, we're working on some documents to help people understand the situation, because not everyone is fully versed in the ins & outs of McCleary. Please bear with us while we get to that (working on it!). Meanwhile, check out the files and the description, and please share photos of the march, thoughts, etc.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, while we're getting organized, if you write to your elected representative (at any level of government), please cc us at: so we can track (loosely) how much volume we're creating. 

If you want to start tweeting away about this, use the hashtags: ‪#‎actnowinslee‬ and ‪#‎paramountduty‬

Let's create some noise!

What I would like to try to do here at the blog is to try to be a clearinghouse for action items so you don't have to go searching for how to make some noise and get things done for public education in our district/state.  While I still like PTA, I've given up on the SCPTA or WAPTA helping me to help them.  So I'm happy to help Soup for Teachers and/or WPD in their efforts for outreach and continuing action.


SPS Mom said...

Just to clarify, WPD is an offshoot from SfT. It's one of the directions for the future being discussed. What amazing energy and people!

Po3 said...

Soup for Teachers daylighted a ton of salary and positions data. It would good to see them leverage that info to force the district to make cuts and get some of the admin positions back in the schools such as nurses and spec ed.

ws234 said...

would also be great if this group didn't require a facebook account to join. I'm sure they could grow their numbers even more.

Kate said...

Agreed. I don't do Facebook (or any social media) and have been frustrated that I can't get info on Soup for Teachers activities, which I would love to support. I suppose I'm in a small minority, but it would be helpful if there were a web page.


Melissa Westbrook said...

It's likely if they do grow, they will have a webpage. But Facebook is the fastest, easiest way to get going.

Anonymous said...

But...but...I thought only LEV and DFER and Stand were allowed to advocate for more funding from legislature.

Me thinks some faux grassroots groups are not going to like this development.


ws234 said...

agreed, Facebook is fast. but there are ways that allow non-Facebook users to view the pages.

Anonymous said...

Agree also, make the facebook page public if using for this purpose. I'm also not a facebook user (yes, we exist and may be more of us than you would think) and I'm not about to sign on just for this. I would like to support the cause (and others) but anything that is only accessible via facebook will not get it.

no profile

Anonymous said...

I can view other community organizations FB pages, and businesses FB pages without signing up BTW. It's obviously doable - if you use the correct setting. Why would you not do this in this instance?

no profile

Maureen said...

I think I remember them saying they made it a closed group so they didn't have to spend admin time cleaning out the spam. On the page now, they are discussing ways of setting up a webpage and wondering if there is a way to automatically forward facebook messages (not just tweets)to a web page. They are working it out. They are really pretty amazing!

Melissa, you belong to the group, so I'm not sure why you are waiting for them to tell you what they are doing? Do you mean officially, like a press release?

Rebecca said...

Hi all -

First, Melissa, thank you for the coverage. Much appreciated. (I like many, have been a fan of yours for years and I admit I was very excited to see you'd joined us.)

Second, we are currently a closed group on Facebook because we need a place to discuss issues and ideas etc and this is better than the community page structure for grassroots/member-led discussion, plus, as someone else said, it means we can keep the discussion focused without opposing opinions being interjected on the page. We didn't expect to go from 5 of us in a coffee shop on Sunday morning to upwards of 1700 as I type! In fact, we debated holding off on going public until we had things a bit more set up (info for people etc) but decided we needed to capture the momentum at the march on Tuesday. So we are scrambling a bit.

We would like to get to a Facebook community page that people can be pointed to for info if they don't want to be in the group, and possibly other ways for outreach beyond that, but these things take time and resources both to set up and to maintain, and we are very much in start-up mode, so please bear with us for a bit as we get things organized and determine what level of pages/structures/etc we can feasibly maintain.

Thank you,

WPD steering committee member

PFB said...

WPD is a great next step. We really do need to continue the digital revolution that we started with this strike, and this is a great way to do it. Everyone join up!

Anonymous said...

The Seattle Times covered Washington's Paramount Duty today!

Now, the question is: what are the next big steps we can take to push our state officials to fully fund education and comply with McCleary now? Please share your on the WPD Facebook page.

-NW Voter