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Government and People
Parents United for the D.C. Public Schools
Parents United was founded in 1981 in the face of devastating teacher layoffs. Parents from all over the city came together to fight the budget cuts. Since then we have acted as the parental conscience in education matters, advocating more effective and intelligent allocation of resources to the classroom, lower pupil/teacher ratios, effective fire inspections of the schools, the provision of school nurses and athletic trainersl for every school and major athletic program, stiffer graduation requirements, more effective teacher evaluations, etc. etc. etc. We are unparalleled in our understanding of the school budget. Through our newsletter, UPDATE, we provide invaluable information to parents and interested citizens about hearings, school board meetings, events and changes within the school system. In fact, for most, our newsletter is often the only notification people have of important upcoming events. Having watched and worked with five superintendents, dozens of school board members and hundreds of PTA presidents and other active parents, we are the city's institutional memory on public education.
WHAT PARENTS UNITED DOES
The mission of Parents United for the D.C. Public Schools is to empower parents and the community with information and advocacy skills to transform D.C. Public Schools to ensure educational success for all our children.
Develops and maintains the most complete roster of PTA/HSA presidents available in the city
Uses that roster to call and do mailings to parent leaders to inform them of opportunities to testify at hearings and attend our advocacy events.
Organizes parent outreach by establishing a network of Ward Coordinators and helping them contact parent leaders to encourage parent advocacy.
Convenes three to four city-wide meetings annually.Organizes a parental response to school crises when crises arise.
Attends evening meetings of parent groups to explain our work, to add parents to our newsletter mailing list and to understand the issues important to those parents.
Develops materials that help parents address the needs of their child and their child's school.
CREATING A PARENT BASED AGENDA FOR SCHOOL REFORM
Talks with parent leaders to learn their issues and incorporate them into the Parents United agenda.
Takes the issues parents raise in hearings and other forums and combines them into systemic change needed to address issues in all schools.Helps parents network so they learn what works to educate children and meet their school's needs.
Attends selected meetings of School Board committees and reports about those meetings to parents.
Writes, publishes and distributes a bi-monthly newsletter incorporating information gathered from a variety of sources.
ANALYZING THE SCHOOL SYSTEM
Analyzes school budget issues and school system data.
Disseminates our analytical work to the larger community in a format parents can understand. Presents the analysis to political officials to pressure them to address the problems identified.
Monitors and reports on school reform and school budget and spending.
Develops and provides information and data on the school system and individual schools.
SECURING RESOURCES FOR THE SCHOOL SYSTEM
Testifies at public hearings to secure the resources our schools need to educate children. successfully.
Establishes a climate of support for the DCPS so that meeting school needs becomes a priority of the Mayor and they address school needs.
MONITORING THE SCHOOL BOARD
Attends Community Meetings of the School Board and its business meetings then reports on the meetings in the newsletter.
Activates the phone network to encourage parents to attend School Board hearings and other policydiscussing events and state publicly whether their school has the resources the system says it does.
Prepares testimony for public hearings of the School Board, Mayor, D. C. Council and D.C. Committees of the U.S. Congress.
REPRESENTING PARENTS TO OTHER ORGANIZATIONS
Represents parent perspectives on task-forces and other school system forums.
Seeks other parents to participate in these forums.
ADVISING PARENTS WHO NEED HELP
Answers questions and researches issues raised by parent phone calls and other inquiries.
Develops consolidated lists of organizations and offices that can help parents.
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