A family in the San Luis Valley has made an X in masking tape on the kitchen counter. It’s the only place a remote hotspot works so the children can access remote school lessons. A mother who runs a hair salon in Commerce City brings her daughter to work with her. It’s the only place she can access online learning using her mother’s hotspot. But it means the mother has problems running credit cards at the same time. A third of students in the South Routt School district south of Steamboat Springs don’t have internet access. Teachers, parents and school superintendents told these stories during the Internet Access Summit Wednesday calling for affordable and universal internet, faster download and upload speeds and higher data caps, and training to ensure families can access quality connections.
The virtual summit, sponsored by Coloradans for the Common Good, a coalition of education, labor and faith-based groups, included teachers, school officials, elected officials, and representatives of internet service providers Comcast, Verizon and T-Mobile. “It’s frustrating,” said Toby Melster, superintendent of the Centennial School District in San Luis, Colorado. He estimates about 30 percent of his students are falling behind simply because they don’t have a high-quality internet connection. He said companies have donated some hotspots but because there are multiple people in a family who need to go online, “they’ve got to make a decision about who gets access to the hotspot...”
As Colorado Schools Reopen, Thousands of Students Still Don't Have Reliable Internet, Colorado Public Radio [pdf]
One week after immigrant leaders from El Carmen Catholic Church raised the issue of parental access to schools, delivering poignant testimony at a Southside ISD School Board meeting last week, the Superintendent publicly reversed his position.
In a letter that went out to all parents, he announced that any form of photo identification issued by a governmental entity, including a matricula consular ID card, would be accepted when verifying parents’ identities on school campuses.
The issue originally emerged when Sandra, a member of El Carmen Catholic Church in San Antonio, attempted to join her son at his elementary school for lunch. She was barred from campus because she could not show a Texas ID. When COPS/Metro leaders requested a meeting with the Superintendent to discuss the policy, they were initially denied.
It wasn't until COPS/Metro and El Carmen Catholic leaders joined Sandra at the next Southside ISD School Board meeting that the district began to reconsider its position.
Said Vincent Arreguin, a COPS/Metro leader from El Carmen Church, “We continue to be committed in our interest to build the relationship with the district. This is not only a win for our parents but our children who are the most important. We are glad that now there’s clarification about the policy.”
[Photo Credit: Camille Phillips, Texas Public Radio]
San Antonio Parents Without Texas IDs Barred from Southside ISD Schools, Texas Public Radio
Southside ISD's ID Policy Has Some Parents Complaining it Leaves Them Out of Kid's Schooling, San Antonio Express-News
BROWNSVILLE, RGV – Over 300 Texas Industrial Area Foundation leaders from across the state will hold a press conference on the south steps of the State Capitol on Thursday.
There, they will call on the House and Senate to invest in families through adult workforce development and public education.
Among those present will be more than 75 members of Valley Interfaith, which is part of the IAF network. In addition to pushing for adult workforce development and public education, Valley Interfaith members will also call for investment in border colonias.
The Rev. Kevin Collins of St. Eugene Parish in Brownsville is a leader with Valley Interfaith. He said Valley Interfaith wants legislators to increase the state’s overall share of the cost of public education and to increase the per-pupil allotment.
“Quality public education is a question of a strong Valley economy and quality of life,” Collins said. “The state needs to step up its game and invest more in public education. Property taxes skyrocketed because the state’s share of school funding went from 50 percent to barely 36 percent. The state needs to increase investment to improve the quality of public education in Texas.”
[Photo Credit: Rio Grande Guardian]
Angry about their exclusion from school decisions, 225 parents, teachers and students from Adams 14 assembled at Our Lady Mother of the Church in Commerce City to launch a 'Sign Up & Take Charge' campaign to fight for an agenda of issues informed by conversations in the community.
Barb McDowell, president of the Classroom Teacher's Association (CTA), explained, "our agenda includes recess for all elementary students, accurate class schedules from day one, parental participation in creating the school calendars, hiring and keeping our counselors" .... and restoration of a highly valued bilingual program through the 5th grade.Read more
Over 60 parishioners of St. Philip's in the Hills Episcopal Church attended a Pima County Interfaith Education Civic Academy in which Rev. Leah Sandwell-Weiss and Jane Prescott-Smith delivered background talks on education funding and teachers Shasha Velgos and Katie Fouts, long-time members of the church, shared stories about their schools: Catalina High School and Borton Elementary.
Small group discussions yielded a variety of stories and passionate concern for children and schools. Participants were invited to sign the #Investined petition and start a voting cascade at the close of the meeting.
NCG leaders are additionally pressing on the Nevada state legislature to fund the weighted student funding formula.Read more
200 Northern Arizona Interfaith Council (NAIC) leaders, with the Prescott College Social Justice Human Rights Program, assembled with all six candidates of Arizona Legislative District 1 to push for increased funding of public schools across the state. Said Tom Benson, "If we want our community and state to be a desirable place to work, raise a family, as well a retire it must be supported by a strong education system from Pre-K through college."Read more
Midway through a multi-year civic education campaign concerning public school funding, Yuma County Interfaith leaders supported passage of a $21 Million infrastructure bond for Yuma School District One in an election that succeeded by 1,500 votes. Leaders are continuing the education push through civic academies in surrounding school districts - including sessions with administrative personnel, staff, principals and parents.
Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance & 'Nevadans for the Common Good' Join Forces for $430M Business Tax Proposal
One week prior, 'Nevadans for the Common Good' met with the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance at Holy Spirit Lutheran Church in Las Vegas; both organizations voted to support the business license proposal. LVGEA cited a study it had commissioned on the impact of the business license fee proposal, which concluded that the "negligible negative impact" in Southern Nevada would be far outweighed by the benefits of improved public schools.Read more