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For excellence and equity in public schools

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What Are Some of the Benefits of Joining COPACS?



Everybody knows that the U.S.  public education system has overlooked or simply ignored a wide range of educational issues and concerns (throughout the nation) for years. This so-called unintentional (?) failure to notice or to question why the U.S. has become less competitive on a global scale for all students --- in spite of the passage of ESEA 1965 --- is a matter of neglect.  

Unfortunately, many Americans, even highly educated Americans, have never heard of ESEA 1965, let alone ESSA.  This fact, in and of itself, shows that our nation views the U.S. public education system as a low priority area in which the educational needs of children can be,  without much fanfare, underserved. For instance, consider the overall low NAEP scores for high school students across the nation in comparison to other nations or  that " two-thirds (68 percent) of U.S. high school students do not know that it took a constitutional amendment to formally end slavery ."

The ongoing gun control debate impacting public school safety concerns is further evidence of this type of neglect, a fact that allows partisanship to dominate and limit the quality of these discussions.

Consider this statement made on February 15,  2001: 

             After countless other shooting tragedies, Congress cannot guarantee that it never happens again because                         one year later Congress has not worked seriously to reduce youth access to guns or to pass legislation that                         will make our nation's children safer.

Seventeen years later, and Congress is still moving at a snail's pace. Americans still have not witnessed any quality, research-based overall gun control legislation or federal standards to speak about --- except for the fact that elected officials have given themselves a snail's pass for their lack of action on this matter, leaving Americans to ask what do politicians do? Why is keeping American children safe such a non-issue that can be set aside for another day --- a low level priority of little importance to politicians?  For example, " Massachusetts is the only state that requires that all firearms be stored with a locking device . . ."  But, add on the fact that the U.S. does not even have any federal standards for locking devices. . ." means that any claim that conservative politicians (in particular) think that they can make about trying to prevent  firearm deaths is a lie (Consider the six year old who had access to the gun that killed  Kayla Rolland or that Nicholas Cruz had access to a AR 15 rifle that murdered 17 individuals even though the rifle was, purportedly, under lock and key.) And still, the discussions are controlled and dominated by special interest groups, gun lobbyists or associations such as the NRA (an association that supports the proliferation of guns in America) --- or pro-gun groups who appear to dictate what Republican politicians (who currently control both houses) say and do when it comes to the safety of children. The question is: can these same politicians who take millions of dollars from the NRA still disagree with them for the sake of children and, finally, support research-based safety solutions ? To date, the answer is still no.

Given these facts, will parents and community stakeholders discuss with teenagers that a congressional policy direction might not be based on the safety of children at all. . . but might, instead, be based on a financial contest between those who are willing to bid the highest for an elected official's support? For this reason, will they tell them that pro-gun elected officials tend to lack the ability to discuss gun control proposals seriously and, instead, favor one-dimensional, off the cuff viewpoints characterized by political decisions that they have already made before they enter the room? where are good faith decisions in short supply? Will they tell them that these same politicians tend to shy away from any transparent, accountable and responsive decision-making processes or answerability in general, especially when it comes to research-based public school safety issues? Most importantly, will they tell them that their so-call debates lack procedural justice and/or fair, actionable goals tied to bonafide, research-based (proven) solutions? Will they tell them that sustained good faith discussions on gun control tend to be in short supply even after a school massacre?

Unfortunately, teenagers have already figured out that far too many  politicians are benefitting financially from these NRA multi-million dollar handouts at the expense of public school children who deserve to be safe. They are noticing that these same politicians are ignoring any and all research-based data pertaining to school massacres --- data actually begging for better gun control laws and/or the implementation of gold and evidenced-based research preventing firearm deaths.

But will things finally change this time. . . or will these same politicians (who live in political bubbles and promote partisan decisions) keep repeating what they have done in the past and keep taking on politically weak stances that amount to doing nothing when the nationwide uproar dies down after still another school massacre? That these politicians lack a sense of urgency --- or any incentive to truly act against NRA  gun positions in spite of research-based solutions is, of course,  the telltale sign that they are not acting on behalf of public school children. As a result, the conversations on gun control must always first start by asking about the elephant in the room. For instance, will pro-gun elected officials ever demonstrate that the lives of children are more important than  NRA donations and, instead, focus on proven gun control laws? 

And yet, in the age of Trump, the public's stance on school-based concerns has to be taken into account --- or called into question, too. Are they supporting research-based, high-quality facts tied to gun control legislation rather than watered down strategies? Anything less will not address the U.S. public health emergency that is caused by gun violence.  As President Obama said years ago: Gabby Giffords deserves a vote (on this public health emergency), the families of Newtown deserve a vote, the families of Aurora deserve a vote, the families of Oak Creek, and Tucson, and Blacksburg, and the families of Parkland, Florida deserve a vote and/or the countless communities ripped open by gun violence   – they all deserve a simple vote."  

From this perspective, the public's ongoing, daily demands on politicians must be the deciding factor or variable to address the low standards and actions that allow politicians to keep downgrading fairness, equality and/or democratic principles. In this sense,  their concrete demands and votes are the missing links that will address the political stances of their elected officials in which greed ( by any means necessary) is still allowed to diminish, on a daily basis,  the call for change --- or the prevention of school massacres.   

The only way to change this period in U.S. history --- or America's current status as the most violent nation in the world is for the public to participate in solution-oriented discussions with their elected politicians. This means that parents and community stakeholders must ask Congress to make room on their agendas for gun control legislation. They must ask Congress (who are public servants to the public and not special interest groups) to "reach an agreement on legislation that can move through the Senate via an expedited process known as unanimous consent proposals ." It means that the public must do their homework and make sure that their voices are heard and tied to positive student outcomes on many different levels. (For instance, in Minnesota , a state representative used " House Rule 4.31, which forces the Legislature to address bills that haven’t been reported on in 20 legislative days, once that bill is referred to a committee, such as public safety. . . a “report” that would require a committee hearing, according to the chief clerk’s office.") They must make sure that their state, district and local school officials create opportunity spaces for discussions on school safety and/or school effectiveness on a regular basis.  

These goals, therefore, can be accomplished when parents and all community stakeholders take on the roles that keep safety, fairness and equality in the forefront of any public school discussion. (The status quo will not take on these roles for them.)  These goals can only be accomplished by understanding that building the capacity of parents is not a reactionary response to current affairs but a pro-active stance that has always been a key, critical role for each and every parent and community stakeholder to take on --- for they are the ones  who must support and promote transparency and accountability in public school governance, discourse and decision-making. These goals can be accomplished when stakeholders collaborate with other nonviolent, interested individuals (i.e., friends, families,  community and faith-based groups, social groups, etc.) in their own cities and towns who want to know what their state, district or local public education system is doing to support the best life chances  for all children, not just some. This urgent need or critical purpose then, at its root, supports public stakeholders in promoting school safety and/or school effectiveness as "the top priorities of the U.S. public school system."


By Joining COPACS. . .

  • You will learn about ESEA 1965 and its many reauthorizations, including ESSA --- supported by supplemental guides that are only available to members. 
  • You will explore and learn about a wide range of educational topics that impact positive student outcomes --- supported by supplemental guides for discussion groups that are only available to members.
  • You will understand why attending legislative hearings and/or following what your federal, state, and local leaders do and say are all tied to positive student outcomes ---outcomes backed by research or high, quality proven data.
  • You will gain access to up-to-date information focusing on the latest educational issues and political concerns --- including if --- or how states, districts and schools across the nation are addressing these critical concerns from safety to school funding concerns. 
  • You will gain access to research-based syntheses, PowerPoint presentations, webinars ---and conference call options focusing on critical issues, etc.
  • You will learn about the individuals as well as educational and research organizations that have supported school effectiveness or best practices and lessons learned tied to student achievement, including why this goal is important. 
  • You will gain access to studies that support stakeholder engagement in public and private school systems, etc. based on gold and/or evidence-based research.
  • You will learn how to support and promote transparency and accountability in school governance, discourse and decision-making tied to student achievement and most importantly, school safety. 
  • You will gain access to an up-to-date calendar of workshops and conferences that focus on parent and community stakeholder events, etc.


Membership Information
 
 
Parents, community stakeholders, parent advocates, parent educators, parent practitioners who would like to learn more about
strong parent engagement tied to real solutions,
please email us at info@copacs.org.