Thursday, March 26, 2009

Educators, Students and Parents for a Better Vision of Seattle Schools

Here is some info on the group ESP Vision (Educators, Students and Parents for a Better Vision of Seattle Schools). They've formed to oppose school closings and budget cuts in Seattle.

Their website is Here's an article on some of the stuff they've done recently:

Their guiding values and principles, as they may be of interest to us in NYC:

Guiding Values & Principles

In its commitment to justice, equity, democracy, equality, civic duty and a cohesive community of parents, educators and students, ESP Vision works under the following guiding principles:

Education is a priority. - There is enough money in Seattle, Washington State and the United States to fully fund education for all students, and our society that must act quickly to re-prioritize education spending Education is about learning for all, not test scores.

- Students deserve to be recognized for what they learn and how they have progressed holistically.

Therefore, ESP Vision eschews the misguided view that the consideration of math and reading scores should be the centerpiece of school evaluation -- a very limited view into student learning. In addition, ESP Vision considers the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) to be discriminatory towards young people of color, low-income students, students with alternative learning styles and English language learners.

Education is about equity, and the best way to achieve this is through investing in quality public education. - The most effective way to deliver a quality education to all students is through the public schools. Seattle schools should reinvest in smaller class size, culturally relevant education, individualized learning and continued professional development and other support for teachers.

In continued commitment a broader vision of equity in our school district and quality education for all students, ESP Vision fights for Seattle Public Schools in the following ways:

Educate the public about the history of Seattle Public Schools, best practices in education, what other cities are doing, what initiatives will support public education, what has and hasn't worked in Seattle and the overall benefits of a thriving public education system.

Keep communication lines open between community members and elected officials and propose better solutions to school shuttering through successful, well-researched alternatives informed by community input

Mobilize and build coalition with educator, student, parent and civil rights groups, taking legal action, organizing citywide demonstrations, campaigns and protests

Identify and support new, promising leaders representing our communities to elect into public office

Through our work, ESP Vision supports:

Full mandated state and federal funding
Creativity and resourcefulness in applying funds to our schools
Equitable distribution of resources in Seattle Public Schools
A more democratic and inclusive leadership model for Seattle schools
Teacher and parent groups/unions
Smaller class sizes and culturally-responsive curricula
NAACP in filing a discrimination lawsuit on behalf of students of color

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