Dec 14, 2011

2011 Impact -- Our Member Annual Report (A report about Rhee's member?)

One year ago we launched on Oprah with a vision:  To transform America’s schools through building a national grassroots movement of parents, teachers, students and concerned citizens who demand change.

U.S. education standing in the worldWe had a core belief that every child can learn and that equal access to a quality education is a civil right.  But the stats show that we are failing our kids:  two-thirds of  fourth graders are unable to read and American students rank 25th out of 34 developing countries in math.

Outdated policies have to change in order for every child to have the opportunity to succeed and for our country to be competitive in the global economy.  However bucking the status quo isn’t easy – the only way to create lasting change is to tap into hopes of the American people who share the belief that we can ensure the right to high quality education for every child when we put students interests first – change will only occur from the ground up.   

This year we are proud to announce that within the coming weeks, we are projecting our grassroots movement will reach the one million member mark.   Our members come from every state and include teachers, parents, principals and school board members. They are Democrats, Republicans and Independents; they are union members and corporate executives.  And they range in age from middle school students to grandparents.

States and policiesThrough their organizing, our members have passed over 50 new policies in 7 states impacting the education of 8.7 million students.  These policies include implementing meaningful teacher evaluations, ending the practice of laying off the best teachers under last-in-first-out (LIFO), expanding public charter opportunities, and empowering parents to turn around failing schools.

In Nevada, for example, our members supported a multi-million dollar ad campaign starring local teachers, and also lobbied both the Democratically controlled houses of the state legislature and the Republican Governor to pass student-centered reform into law.  This bipartisan blueprint for reform surprised some observers but was replicated in some capacity elsewhere, including in Michigan and Maine.  Our members also acted to successfully pass student-focused reforms in Tennessee, Florida, Ohio and Indiana.

When state bureaucrats in California threatened to weaken parental power to fix failing schools, our members rallied quickly and gathered nearly 2000 thousand petition signatures within 15 hours, presenting them at a State Board Hearing, and helping to implement a meaningful parent-trigger law.
But we are only at the beginning and we have a lot of work ahead.  Our success has provided a rallying point for the special interest groups who oppose reform.  We need your help to grow our movement and to take action in your community.

Sign the pledge to put StudentsFirst and recruit your friends, family and colleagues to join you.
Together we will fight on behalf of students until every American child get the quality education they deserve.

Thank you for your support and I look forward to working with you in 2012.

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