Topic

Education

28,109 petitions

Update posted 5 hours ago

Petition to Brush Creek Montessori School Community

Resolution of challenges at Brush Creek Montessori School

We, the parents/guardians of students in the Amber Classroom, at Brush Creek Montessori School (BCMS), are deeply saddened and troubled by the recent departure of Amber Classroom teacher Denise Collins. We have also recently learned of our beloved Head of School, Jed Burchett, was stepping down to the Head Teacher role of the Amber Classroom only to be blindsided by an email from the board indicating they are looking for an entirely new teacher on Friday night 12/18/2020, leaving Jed's role with the school uncertain to all. In addition, on Friday evening, a parent observed an unknown individual accompanied by a locksmith and another man in a red car, whom stated he was security changing the locks on the office door while children were still present on campus. This is highly disruptive, these types of actions could of been done after business hours. It also raises concern about who now has access to our personal and confidential information.  We have learned that these changes may have been influenced by challenges between staff and the Board members. Please consider the following email we received from a BCMS board member: "Dear Parents,This is Rashmi Rao. I am one of the Board members.  This unfortunate crisis is the making of several Board members who have been relentless in undermining Jed and his team and which prompted his resignation.  I have been strongly against the direction the board was being pushed by some board members and vehemently objected to the actions these board members chose to take today.  I was not the only objector on the board.  I am so sorry for what the parents have been put through.  With your support I believe it should be easy to get Jed back and get the school back to the way it was." In order to restore stability in our children's lives and the entire school community as soon as possible, we demand the following from the Board of Directors by Thursday, December 24th so we can have some peace of mind for our children and families come Monday, January 4th:  ~Rescind the appointed Interim Head of School as she was as recently as October 2020, a BCMS board member.  ~Restore Jed Burchett as the Head of School and teacher of the Amber classroom as our children know and love him.  This would provide all of our children with some stability in the midst of this pandemic and chaos. ~All board members to resign with Rashmi Rao staying on only to appoint new members and subsequently resign ~The BCMS community will work together to appoint board members that are willing to listen and respond to the entire school's needs in a way that is thoughtful, democratic, and respectful of the families and staff at BCMS. We ask that the entire school community sign this petition as our destinies are interconnected.  Eventually, this division and dysfunction will impact all of our families. Many parents have also chosen Brush Creek Montessori at an early stage in their child's development with the expectation that their child continues on through the elementary school years.  We thank you for your support of all of the children at Brush Creek Montessori and ultimately the future of our school.    

Sierra Ricks
233 supporters
Update posted 5 hours ago

Petition to United Nations

Access to an Education for Girls in South Sudan

Access to an education is not a privilege, it is a human right. Education is power. Education provides hope and stability for the future.  Around the globe, 132 million girls are not in school, 34.3 million of primary school age, 30 million of lower-secondary school age, and 67.4 million of upper-secondary school age. Countries affected by war are far less likely to produce educated children and adults, especially women and young girls. Access to an education is extremely vital for girls, because not only does it drastically drop the chances of young pregnancy and early marriages, but also strengthens communities as a whole. According to UNICEF, "Only 66 per cent of countries have achieved gender parity in primary education. At the secondary level, the gap widens: 45 per cent of countries have achieved gender parity in lower secondary education, and 25 per cent in upper secondary education." These alarming numbers can be seen in South Sudan. According to the World Bank, it is estimated that seven girls per ten boys attend elementary school, and only five girls per ten boys enroll in secondary education. Only 16 percent of the female population over the age of 15 is literate, compared to the 40 percent literacy rate for males. Unfortunately, a child's socio-economic status plays a large role in whether they do or do not attend school in South Sudan. In households and areas with extreme poverty, children are far less likely to set foot in a school, especially girls. With an overwhelming amount of poverty, South Sudanese families often rely on marrying off their daughters. This cultural tradition often leads to young girls being married off for the means of survival. With a heavy importance on arranged marriages, parents often do not find the value or necessity of enrolling their daughters in school. Sign and share this petition to spread awareness and hopefully help bring about change. Let's end this viscous cycle.  The country where a child was born should NOT define the quality of their education. Education is often taken for granted by those who have access, meanwhile millions of children around the world would trade the world to have the right to learn.  Let's be the change. 

Eleni Vasiliades
88 supporters
Update posted 5 hours ago

Petition to Montclair BOE, Montclair Principals, MEA, Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Ponds

Montclair Public Schools Outdoor Hybrid Education Plan

Many families across our district are deeply frustrated, even devastated, that Montclair Public Schools (MPS) began the 2020-21 school year remotely. According to the district survey sent out to evaluate the virtual model, more than half of responding parents had no confidence that remote learning had a positive effect on their childs’ education. Furthermore, the top three biggest obstacles cited for remote learning were: missing friends (78%) missing teachers (60%) and disengagement with remote learning (58%). The current remote model fails to address any of these concerns. The fact that ventilation systems need repair does not mean we should wait to start in-person schooling. A total of 434 districts in New Jersey are hybrid as of September 2. Public schools in neighboring towns are already providing or pivoting back to in-person learning using creative alternatives (e.g. Glen Ridge, Cedar Grove). We have shared with Dr. Ponds the 29-page district-wide proposal that provides detailed school maps, equipment lists and budgets (available on our website). We see no reason that Montclair’s much-lauded public school system cannot do the same as our neighboring towns. Forced remote learning for all was not inevitable and it does not have to persist. According to an MPS email sent 7/24/2020: “Our goal is to create a safe reopening format that best meets the needs of all students, staff and families. Some of those needs were expressed in the survey data in which we found that 70% of our families chose an in-person, hybrid model.” Why have the majority of parents been removed as stakeholders from the district’s reopening plan? We support our teachers and understand their safety concerns.  Our initial proposal was conceived to make a hybrid model safer for teachers and staff just as much as for the children. While the District represents the interests of the Board of Education and the union represents the teachers, the children are the only involved party that lack an advocate, and they are bearing the brunt and losing the most! We parents are their advocates. Moreover, according to both the Budget Presentations from March 2020 and the NJ Homeowner's Guide, our tax dollars drive the majority of funding for our district schools to the tune of over $50 Million per year. Given this financial fact, Montclair parents deserve to be treated as equal stakeholders in this discussion.  The immediate solution is outdoor learning. Montclair has the key resources of ample outdoor space and strong parent and PTA participation in our schools to put this plan into effect much sooner than November 1st. We seek to equitably improve learning, mental and physical health, and bring back joy for children and adults using an affordable, time-tested outdoor approach to keeping schools open during a pandemic.  We believe an outdoor learning model addresses all the obstacles and negative effects of remote learning, while also offering the critical elements of increased socialization and collaboration. We are confident that the outdoor model can work as the main form of hybrid learning for those families that choose it, and because ventilation is a non-issue outdoors, this plan can start immediately at schools that are equipped to do so while the rest are brought quickly up to speed. This proposal can be implemented using several different funding models including: reallocation of existing PTA funds if available, new fundraising efforts, but most importantly a strategic approach to tap additional funds from within the BOE operating budget. Some areas where potential Covid-related savings might lie include transportation, food service/staffing, supplemental cleaning contract and additional breakage funds. The burden of funding a proper Covid education response should not fall on parents and individual families.  Outdoor education offers a long-term, positive approach to learning for all students regardless of Covid. This crisis is a moment for all stakeholders to think outside the box and adopt a solution that Green Schoolyards and other forward-thinking educational organizations have been advocating for for many years. Outdoor Learning Offers the Following Benefits:    o  Reducing screen time and “Zoom fatigue” for students and teachers. o  Offering critical social and emotional connections with peers and teachers (while meeting health and safety guidelines). o  Reducing Covid transmission risk by 20x. o  Centering equity by bringing kids back to school grounds.  o  Reversing the continued widening of the achievement gap created by remote learning. o  Decreasing the incidence of anxiety, depression and screen overload among students brought on by remote learning in the spring and early fall. o  Reinstating true access to required services and in-class supports for students with 504 and IEP plans, which cannot be offered effectively remotely. Parent groups at each school are working on the ground through their PTA’s to coordinate support efforts, fundraising, and procurement of required materials to implement this process safely and will follow-up with their individual school principals. Teams are already underway at Buzz Aldrin, Bullock, Nishuane, Bradford and Glenfield. Edgemont Elementary School is fully outfitted with equipment and ready to go as an early adopter.  The district’s most recent update cites November 1 as the target date for completion of short-term fixes to the ventilation system. We feel the District is not being transparent about details of the work and whether a failure to complete work at some locations will cause further delays of in-person learning for all children. Unfortunately, no firm date has been given for a return to the hybrid model. We are concerned the District will switch plans again last minute! Now is the moment to reimagine our classrooms and pivot to a learning model for a brighter future for our children that centers joy and healing for both teachers and students from the trauma of spring. The District said that outdoor learning was considered, but did not share any details with the community about what prevented this plan from moving forward. Real, in-person education is a human right!  We need your support to make our voices heard. Please sign our petition below and feel free to include a comment with your kids’ grade levels and schools.   STATEMENT I, parent/guardian of a student/s in the Montclair Public Schools and/or resident of Montclair Township petition the school administration to adopt a plan that incorporates outdoor learning into our children’s curriculum immediately in lieu of facilities that are not ready due to ventilation issues, and with the same vigor, resources and energy that have been devoted to remote learning. Also, I petition the District, not MEA, to respond to requests under the New Jersey Open Records Act in the interest of ensuring transparency with the broader school community regarding 1) results of teacher polling surrounding the return to in-person teaching and 2) the District's nature of contracted work, by school, being engaged in beginning August 1 through the present surrounding ventilation remediation and 3) District communications engaged with the MEA regarding the decision not to proceed with in-person learning.  I petition that in the interest of transparency with the broader school community, the BOE share publicly which buildings specifically are not ready, when they will be brought online, and what will happen if they cannot be brought online. The petition results will be presented to Dr. Ponds and the BOE on September 21, 2020.  I call for an evaluation of this proposal and thorough response by the BOE, MEA, Principals and Superintendent, Dr. Ponds by no later than September 24, 2020.

Carolyn Corbran
596 supporters