Say No to Vouchers and to School Closures on Puerto Rico

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Dear Amy,

We’re writing today to alert you to a federal voucher bill that has NPE and other national allied organizations very concerned.

Send an email with a click to Congress to stop money being drained directly from public schools to fund a national voucher program. Here is the link: https://bit.ly/2J8Rd9P

This program will bring vouchers to your state, whether or not your own state law allows them. And this bill would be a first step in a broader national program, which is of course the dream of Betsy DeVos and the Koch Brothers.

Here’s a bit of background.

About a month ago HR 5199 and S. 2517 were introduced in the House and the Senate. I wrote about these bills for Valerie Strauss’s Answer Sheet blog in the Washington Post. The bills would siphon Impact Aid from public school districts to fund an Education Savings Account (ESA) program that gives children from military families a voucher to attend private schools.

It’s important to note that military families don’t support these bills. They understand that school districts that serve the vast majority of military families (80%) rely on Impact Aid. You can learn more about Impact Aid here, and see a list of the 1,300 school districts enrolling more than 11 million students that rely on Impact Aid here. Your district could be on the list.

So who does want this program? The Koch brothers-funded think tank, The Heritage Foundation, and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
US News reported that The Heritage Foundation is lobbying the House and Senate Armed Services Committees to get the voucher bill tucked into the National Defense Authorization Act (the annual budget for the Department of Defense), and that DeVos herself is lobbying Secretary of Defense James Mattis to get his support.
 
From the article:

Given the looming midterm election season, the coordinated push is seen by some as an all-hands-on-deck effort to claim a victory on school choice before the window of opportunity completely closes.

We need you to take action and urge your Members of Congress to oppose adding vouchers to the defense authorization bill and share this link with your members https://bit.ly/2J8Rd9P.
We have put together materials that you can access here. You’ll find graphics, sample letters from the National Coalition for Public Education, and some of the other resources linked in this newsletter to help you create your own alerts.
Please do everything you can to spread the word about this cynical attempt to hide a voucher bill in the defense budget.

But the attack on public education does not stop there! The reformers are now after public education in Puerto Rico as well.

We saw this playbook before. Governor Ricardo Rossello and his education secretary are using Hurricane Maria as an excuse to close down 283 more public schools. At the same time, they are pushing for charter schools and there has even been talk of vouchers.

Mayors from across Puerto Rico do not support these school closings and they’re demanding the governor stop.

Add your name to the list of people supporting Puerto Rican teachers, parents and students.

Here is the link to the petition to sign and share: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/stand-with-puerto-rico-teachers-and-parents

Share this newsletter with this link:  https://wp.me/p3bR9v-2Hj

Thank you for all you do!

Carol Burris

Executive Director

The Network for Public Education is a 501 (c)(3) organization. You can make a tax deductible donation here.

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