There will be PTA members saying that they represent our children while visiting with our legislators and speaking in committee hearings in Olympia during the legislative session that started on Monday. They will repeat the phrase Every Child One Voice while pushing the charter school agenda. They will say that a resolution was passed by the PTA Legislative Assembly in support of charter schools and they will stand in support alongside the League of Education Voters (LEV) and Stand for Children (SFC) on this issue.
What I have found out is that the representatives of LEV, SFC and the PTA are all one in the same.
Ramona Hattendorf who was President of the PTA Seattle Council is also referred to as an “LEV Key Activist” on a document that she signed along with other LEV “Key Activist” in support of the RTTT proposal, Bill 6696, during the last legislative session. Ms. Hattendorf is now a paid lobbyist for the Washington State PTA. Her title is Government Relations Coordinator and she has her office in Olympia where she is in daily contact with our legislators.
Chad Magendanz is also referred to as an “LEV Activist” who with the support of the League of Education Voters was voted in as a school board member in Issaquah. Last year he was busy writing the proposed plank for merit pay based on student performance to be a part of the WSPTA platform. Unfortunately it passed without fair representation from anyone describing the other side of that issue. This year, he was part of the committee to write the proposal for charter schools. For more on that proposal see Whoa Washington State PTA, Where Did That Come From?! Charter Schools? The proposal when presented to the PTA members provided no counter argument to having charter schools in our state.
Then there is Alison Meryweather, PTA, Stand for Children and LEV Activist who along with Mr. Magendanz wrote the PTA proposal for charter schools that is now a plank in the WSPTA platform.
Conflict of interest? Absolutely. I believe that being referred to as an LEV Key Activist means that a member is acting on the behalf of that organization and representing its goals and values. We know that LEV is heavily funded by Gates who is all about charter schools. LEV has showcased over the last year all of the “Stars” of the charter school industry as well as Wendy Kopp of Teach for America Inc. who staffs charter schools with teaching temps. LEV is now, by the way, championing the online learning industry, another cash cow for businesses and corporations including Microsoft.
And Stand for Children? All you have to do is watch the video of Edelman at the Aspen Institute talking about how his organization was successful in wrenching the bargaining rights of teachers out of the hands of the union and how he plans to begin his attack in our state. The transcript is also available at the Parents Across America website.
So exactly what side of the fence are these people on who are now saying that they speak for us while lobbying our representatives? Who have they been representing all along? Are they advocating for us or their moneyed funders?
Because of the murky line that they have drawn for themselves, all of us as parents, teachers, students and concerned citizens need to contact our representatives and let them know what we want for our children. We need to make it clear that unfortunately the PTA does not represent us or our children at this time and that neither LEV nor Stand for Children are advocating for our children but only for a moneyed few.
Here is a map that can help you locate your representatives and provides contact information.
Here is a list of Education Committee members.
Here is a list of Education Appropriations and Oversight Committee members.
If you want to become part of a chorus of voices demanding that our public schools remain pubic, please consider joining Parents Across America.