Action Alerts · Public Education · Vote with your Dollars

Remember Philando Castile by Following His Example–Pay His Schoolchildrens’ Meal Debts (Great Update, February 26, 2018)

Carry on the good work of Philando Castile by doing what he did–pay for the breakfasts and lunches of kids in his school cafeteria who could not afford their meals.

 

Great update!: As of February 26, 2018, the Philando Feeds the Children YouCaring page had erased the meal debts of the entire St. Paul Public Schools K-12 system.

 

Read the update posted to the page on that date:

St. Paul Public Schools System has 56 schools.  K-12.  And this fund, PHILANDO FEEDS THE CHILDREN, just paid off the lunch debt for all of them!!!!

That means that no parent of the 37,000 kids who eat meals at school need worry about how to pay that overdue debt.

Philando is STILL reaching into his pocket, and helping a kid out.  One by one.  With your help.

Your donations will fill that pocket for years to come.  Thank you for your generosity.

If you’ve already donated, tell yourself thank you.  From every parent of 37,000 children– THANK YOU!  You’ve made an enormous difference in their lives.

 

 

Original blog text follows.

 

Castile was shot and killed on July 6, 2016, by a police officer who pulled him over in greater St. Paul, Minnesota, for a broken tail light. Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds,  live-streamed the aftermath of the shooting on Facebook. Her four-year-old daughter was in the car. Castile was 32. The officer who killed him was tried on second-degree manslaughter and other charges and found not guilty. He was fired the same day the verdict came down.

 

Castile was well-loved by the children at the J.J. Hill Montessori magnet school, a public school for pre-kindergarteners to fifth graders in St. Paul. The cafeteria supervisor would often pay for the breakfasts and lunches of students who could not afford their meals.

 

Inver Hills Community College professor Pam Fergus launched a fundraiser in his name: Philando Feeds the Children.

 

It’s on the YouGiving fundraiser platform. As of September 3, 2017, it had slightly exceeded its goal of $50,000, which was extended to cover the meal debts of the entire St. Paul public school system. The fundraiser will remain open into November.

 

If the scope of the fundraiser changes again we’ll update this page accordingly, and we will update it in November to note when the fundraiser closes.

 

Update, November 12, 2017: The fundraiser has been updated. Goal is now $999,999, and will help all public schools in St. Paul and beyond. As of this date it has raised more than $94,000.

 

This OTYCD entry originally posted in September 2017.

 

Donate to Philando Feeds the Children:

https://www.youcaring.com/jjhillschoolandotherschools-914378

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

Read a piece from The Root on the fundraiser:

http://www.theroot.com/philando-castiles-legacy-of-helping-his-students-pay-fo-1798685076?utm_source=theroot_twitter&utm_medium=socialflow

 

 

Read about the killing of Castile (warning–some links may show videos of the confrontation, and may show the aftermath):

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/philando-castile-shooting

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/06/21/what-the-police-officer-who-shot-philando-castile-said-about-the-shooting/?utm_term=.53018e4bb705

http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/20/us/philando-castile-shooting-dashcam/index.html

Action Alerts · Community Activism · Public Education · Vote with your Dollars

UPDATED: Pay the Meal Debts of Students at Your Local K-12 School and Ask Your State Legislature to Pass an Anti-Lunch-Shaming Bill

Call a local K-12 school in your area and ask if you can pay off the school lunch debt of a student or two. Also, find out if your state has an anti-lunch-shaming bill and if it doesn’t, ask your legislature to pass one.

 

Low-income families sometimes struggle to pay the school lunch bills of their children. Hungry kids have trouble learning, but some poor kids suffer worse than a missed meal. Some have suffered the indignity of having their breakfast or lunch taken from them and thrown in the trash. Sometimes this happens in sight of their classmates.

 

In extreme cases (scroll down for a New York Times article that relays these incidents), students who owe are forced to clean cafeteria tables. The arm of a child in Alabama was stamped with the phrase “I Need Lunch Money.”

 

Being poor isn’t good or bad; it just is. No child should be made to feel shame over not having as much money as their fellow students, or made to suffer socially because their parents fell behind in their school meal payments or simply forgot.

 

One way you can fight back is to call a K-12 school near you and ask if you can pay the bills of students whose families are in arrears. Odds are there’s at least one school in your city or town that has unpaid school meal bills. A 2016 report by the School Nutrition  Association states that roughly 75 percent of responding districts had at least some student meal debt by the end of the school year.

 

This is an admittedly imperfect solution, as it lets the government off the hook for funding a service that minor children should be able to expect, but it does help where help is needed.

 

You can also ask your state legislators if your state has an anti-lunch-shaming bill on the books, and if they don’t, you can ask them to pass one.

 

First, find your state legislators by plugging your zip code into this web tool:

https://whoaremyrepresentatives.org/

 

Then look up their biographies on your state legislature’s web site and see if either your state senator or state house rep or both sit on any education-related committees. If they do, it is extra-important for you to pursue this matter.

 

Ask your state reps to pass a bill like the Hunger-Free Students’ Bill of Rights Act, which New Mexico’s governor signed into law in April. It appears to be the first bill of its kind passed by an American state. It outlaws any techniques that have the effect of shaming students, and it asks schools to work with parents to satisfy meal debt or get them on a federal school meal assistance program.

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

GOOD UPDATE: A Seattleite by the name of Jeff Lew has made it his mission to combat lunch debt and school practices that shame children whose parents have trouble paying for meals.

 

His GoFundMe is a clearinghouse for schools in need, and it lets you start a campaign on behalf of a school near you:

https://www.gofundme.com/raise-funds/erase-lunch-debt

 

You can also show support by following him on Twitter:

@biglew8

…and following his dedicated Twitter account for the cause, which is admittedly a work  in progress as of May 28:

@LunchDebt

 

 

Read this 2016 Atlantic piece on unpaid school meal bills:

https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/02/unpaid-school-lunch-bills/460509/

 

 

See the particulars of the New Mexico anti-shaming law:

https://www.nmlegis.gov/Legislation/Legislation?Chamber=S&LegType=B&LegNo=374&year=17

 

 

Read this New York Times piece on the New Mexico anti-shaming law:

 

See the School Nutrition Association report that states that three-quarters of districts who filled out the survey had outstanding student debts (scan for the paragraph with the phrase “unpaid student meal debt” in bold):

https://schoolnutrition.org/NewsPublications/PressReleases/SNANationalSurveyRevealsIncreasedEffortsToPromoteStudentConsumptionOfHealthyChoices/

 

 

Read about that incident in Alabama where a kid’s arm was stamped with the phrase ‘I Need Lunch Money’:

http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/index.ssf/2016/06/gardendale_elementary_student.html

 

 

See more proof that school lunch-shaming is, sadly, a thing:

Some Schools Shame Students When Their Parents Can’t Pay For Lunch

http://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/children-shamed-so-parents-will-pay-the-school-lunch-bill/

 

 

Read about recent efforts by individual citizens to settle unpaid student meal debt:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/donors-unite-nationwide-to-pay-off-kids-school-lunch-debt/

 

 

Action Alerts · Community Activism · Public Education

Support the Striking Oklahoma Teachers

Support the teachers who are on strike in Oklahoma.

 

Teachers in Oklahoma are among the most underpaid in America, ranking 49th out of 50 in 2016. It also ranked 47th out of 50 in that year for expenditures on K-12 students.

 

While the Oklahoma state legislature did pass a $6,100 pay raise in late March, that move fell far short of the teachers’ demands. They plan to walk out on Monday, April 2.

 

In addition to a $10,000 raise for teachers and a $5,000 raise for support personnel, the teachers want the state to increase spending on its schools by $200 million over three years, and it wants the state to reverse certain budget cuts.

 

The budget cuts have forced teachers to deal with overcrowded classrooms. About a fifth of the state’s schools have had to adopt four-day weeks due to lack of funds.

 

You can stay on top of the walkout by watching the webpage of the Oklahoma Education Association, which will protest at the state capitol starting on Monday, April 2, 2018:

http://standwithteachers.org

 

 

Also follow the OEA on Twitter:

@okea

 

 

And like it on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/Oklahoma.Education.Association

 

 

If you live in or near Oklahoma, you can pledge to join the walkout:

https://actionnetwork.org/forms/pledge-to-walk-on-april-2nd

 

 

Another source of walkout news is Oklahoma Teachers United, whose Twitter handle is:

@TeacherOklahoma

 

 

Like the Oklahoma Teachers United Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/Oklahomateachersunited/

 

 

You can also follow VOICE OKC, Voices Organized in Civic Engagement, on Twitter:

@voiceokc

 

 

See VOICE OKC’s website:

https://www.voiceokc.org

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

Read background on the conditions that led to the Oklahoma teachers’ strike:

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/it-just-hurts-my-heart-low-pay-big-classes-are-the-plight-of-oklahoma-teachers/2018/03/30/e5e10eb8-2c88-11e8-b0b0-f706877db618_story.html?utm_term=.2de02d276181

http://time.com/5220561/oklahoma-teacher-strike-pay-raise-bill/

https://www.vox.com/2018/3/29/17164284/oklahoma-teachers-strike

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/education/why-oklahoma-teachers-will-walk-out-monday

 

 

 

 

 

Community Activism · Marches and Protests · Public Education · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends · Vote with your Dollars

Join the Network for Public Education and Combat Betsy DeVos’s Agenda

This OTYCD entry originally posted in May 2017.

Want to resist the democracy-destroying agenda of Department of Education head Betsy DeVos? Join the Network for Public Education.

Founded in 2013 by Diane Ravitch, a historian of education and author of numerous books, including Left Back: A Century of Battles Over School Reform and The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education, it aims to protect and defend the nation’s public school system from the forces that would destroy it.

 

Visit the Network for Public Education’s web page:

https://networkforpubliceducation.org

 

See its agenda:

https://networkforpubliceducation.org/about-npe/our-positive-agenda/

 

Join its grassroots network (scroll down to find your state):

https://networkforpubliceducation.org/grassroots-education-network-3/

 

Review its Toolkit that explains school privatization, and why it’s a problem:

https://networkforpubliceducation.org/9121-2/

 

Like it on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/networkforpubliced/

 

Follow it on Twitter:

@Network4PubEd

 

Donate to the Network for Public Education:

https://networkforpubliceducation.org/about-npe/donate/