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National Parental Involvement Day



TO: Educational Leadership in the United States of America

FROM: Kevin S. Walker, National Director of Project Appleseed, The National
Campaign For Public School Improvement

RE: Organized Parental Involvement/ National Parental Involvement Day

Like Johnny Appleseed of folklore, Project Appleseed  is the name for the
non-profit campaign to spread the seeds of school improvement  across
America. To improve education in our nation's public schools, a coalition of
parents, parent groups, educators, business leaders, and teacher's union
leaders have come together under the banner of Project Appleseed. Our purpose
is to systematically organize parents, at the grassroots level, in states and
local school districts, to mobilize community support for public school
improvement.

Many American school systems are in trouble, but some are on the road to
improvement.  Project Appleseed is based on the 1989 study, "Cities Mobilize
to Improve Their Schools,"  conducted by the Rand Corporation and funded by
the James S. McDonnell Foundation.

The most important finding of the Rand study is this: A FAILING SCHOOL SYSTEM
CAN BE TURNED AROUND ONLY IF THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY UNITES ON ITS BEHALF.  The
problems are too severe, intertwined and entangled with broader community
social and economic events to be solved by the educational bureaucracy.
  

Project Appleseed is organizing the grassroots "army" and providing the
ground troops in the battle for school reform at the local level. There are
over 40 million parents in America.  Groups much smaller than this have
become extremely effective when they have become educated to understand their
own interest.  Real education reform in this country cannot take place
without an effective parent constituency.  If we fail to make  systematic
efforts to address how we get parents back into the schools, we are clearly
fighting an uphill battle with some very unpleasant long-term consequences
for this nation
.

THE DOUBLE HELIX OF SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT
According to Rand, "The findings with regard to improving schools are
remarkably consistent with case studies of major corporations that survive
serious financial crises or erosion of traditional market positions.  The
corporations that develop successful new business strategies typically:

1. Reach out to new markets and clienteles.

2. Create new open flows of information about market needs and corporate
performance (in part by including knowledgeable outsiders
 in  corporate deliberations). 

3. Create consensus on goals through broad internal consultations, personally
managed by the CEO.

4. Break down the traditional barriers among internal bureaucratic entities,
thus increasing the leverage enjoyed by top corporate leaders.


Like the double helix that combines and recombines genetic material to renew
life, according to the Rand Corporation, a citywide improvement strategy must
combine two complementary strands:

-The inside strand focuses on the conten
t of schooling (curricula, academic standards, incentives and work rules for
teachers and a   
philosophy of school management).
 
-The outside strand attracts and mobilizes community and political support
and other resources from outside the traditional school bureaucracy - from
taxpayers, bus
inesses and the larger community. 

Project Appleseed has engaged the outside strand of school improvement as the
foundation of our organizing strategy.  Project Appleseed has four goals that
guide ou
r effort to mobilize grass roots support for public school improvement in
America.
  
 1. Parents and citizens must organize and reach out to involve the larger
community in educational issues. We must breakdown the barriers between the
schools and the community.  Schools can no longer be seen as bureauc
racies whose only consistent link with the broader public is the need for tax
money.
 
 
2. Parents and citizens must organize and make  information about  community
needs, school resources, and student performance broadly available.  Access
to information enables parents and citizens to compare claims with
performance.  Openness about student performance and district administration
complicates the lives of administrators and school board members, but it pays 
off in
terms of community support.
 
 
 3. Parents and citizens must organize to create community wide agreement and
understanding about educational improvement goals.  Good schools have to
become more than a political football or a rallying point for boosterism. 
Good schooling haS to become a community goal and a community respo
nsibility. 
 
 4. Parents and citizens must lead the school improvement effort and assume
responsibility for improving America's schools.    We must subordinate the
traditional roles of school boards, administrators, and teachers to the needs
of a broad systemwide improvement effort.  A long-term solution to the
problems of our schools will take many years, far longer than the tenure of
any superintendent or school board member.  In return for accepting change
and uncertainty, these actors can hope to work in an environment of realistic
expectations and genuine moral support.  They can also hope to tap far richer
lodes of financial, organizational, an intellectual resources than ever
before.

Many communities in America possess the financial, intellectual, and
leadership resources needed to build their own educational improvement
strategies. To initiate an effort to improve the public schools in all of o
ur nation's communities, Project Appleseed is organizing and mobilizing
parents and citizens to improve America's public schools.

NATIONAL PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT DAY
Project Appleseed is organizing parental responsibility by focusing America's
attention on National Parental Involvement Day, November 17, 1994.  By this
date, we will organize one million parents, to sign the Parental  Involvement
 Pledge.  

The Pledge is the seed of Project Appleseed.  It is a written agreement
between the student and parent.  The Pledge states that the parent will
volunteer a minimum of 5 hours each semester in a school district activity,
such as tutoring, serving as a teacher's aide, supervising extra-curricular
activities and participating in district decision-making bodies.  The Pledge
also requires parents to spend at least 15 minutes each night reviewing their
children's schoolwork or working together on enrichment activities.  With
each signed Pledge, Project Appleseed has provided a volunteer survey which
asks parents to choose among 36 volunteer possibilities. 

Our purpose is to seek out parents,  in America's 15,000 school districts who
want  to improve their children's schools.  By use of the Internet, parents
in over 26 states have signed the Pledge and they are now spreading the
Pledge throughout their local school districts and states.  

I need your assistance in spreading the Pledge in your family, schools,
community, and in your state.  The Pledge is the seed of Project Appleseed. 
With every parent and citizen that signs the pledge, we gain a new recruit in
the battle to improve America's public schools.  

Enclosed is a copy of the Pledge.  Please print it, read it and share it with
your friends.  Then e-mail Applese212@aol.com with the message, "I want to
sign the Pledge".  Leave us your name and postal address, Internet address,
and fax number and we will send you a MASTER COPY of the Pledge, along with
vital information about how you can become part of National Parental
Involvement Day and the grassroots campaign to improve America's public
schools.

I need your help to get others involved in Project Appleseed.  This movement
needs your financial support.  Our organization survives on $25, $50, and
$100 contributions from individuals like you.  Individuals are the core of
our effort.  Your contribution will be used to fund parental involvement
efforts in thousands of communities across America.  Your contribution will
enable Project Appleseed to reach millions of parents and educators across
America.  I encourage you to make an investment in the campaign that is
improving America's public schools. 

Thank you for your time and for your involvement in the struggle to improve
America's public schools.

Kevin S. Walker
National Director

Applese212@aol.com

Make contributions payable to:
PROJECT APPLESEED

Mailing Address:
National Campaign Office
7511 Delmar Blvd. Suite A
St. Louis, MO  63130-3930

1-800-839-2077 


*********************************************************************

  --- Thursday --- February 17, 1994 --- Vol. 3 --- No. 165 ---

DAILY REPORT CARD   DAILY REPORT CARD   DAILY REPORT CARD  
DAILY REPORT CARD   DAILY REPORT CARD   DAILY REPORT CARD     
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DAILY REPORT CARD   DAILY REPORT CARD   DAILY REPORT CARD 
DAILY REPORT CARD   DAILY REPORT CARD   DAILY REPORT CARD     

THE NATIONAL UPDATE ON AMERICA'S EDUCATION GOALS
______________________________________________________

(c) 1993 by the American Political Network, Inc.
282 N. Washington St., Falls Church, VA  (703) 237-5130
APN, Inc. & The DAILY REPORT CARD authorizes further reproduction and
distribution with proper acknowledgment.           
Publisher:  Barbara A. Pape
                  
==============  TABLE OF CONTENTS  ==============

FOCUS: PROJECT APPLESEED:  Parents are core of reform. (#4)

=====  FOCUS  =====

PROJECT APPLESEED:  
PARENTS ARE CORE OF REFORM

     Parental involvement is essential for meaningful education reform,
according to the St. Louis, Mo.-based Project Appleseed (Project Appleseed
press release).  And project organizers are using a "Parental Involvement
Pledge" as the cornerstone of their movement to recruit "'ground troops' in
the battle for school reform," writes the release.

     The pledge calls on parents to actively participate in their children's
education.  For example, the pledge demands that parents "take personal
responsibility for my child's education," by spending at least 15 minutes
each night helping with homework and volunteering at least 5 hours per
semester for the school system, writes the release.

     Kevin Walker, Project Appleseed's national director, explained that
"cyberspace has tied America's parents together in a way that is transforming
our 18-month-old grassroots movement into an effective and potent network for
the parent constituency in America."   Project Appleseed is using the
Internet "as the backbone for a national parental communications network,"
according to the release.  State organizations will focus their "networking
on local school districts so that Appleseed can battle for school reform and
parental involvement at the local level," reports Project Appleseed.  And
state level project leaders will direct parents who have signed the pledge.
    
      University City, Mo., parents were the first nationwide to take the
pledge.  School officials distributed 4400 of the pledges to the district's
parents last November.  "Within days 1100 parents signed two copies of the
pledge," one for the teacher and the other for the parent.  10,000 new
volunteer hours have been created with a minimum wage value of $50,000,"
writes the release. (District officials are asking additional parents to sign
the pledge during the spring parent teacher conferences). 

     The pledge states:  "As the parents we are the owners of the public
school system.  As owners, we bear a responsibility to participate in the
schools.  Accountability for the schools, their employees and their funding
rests with us, and the rest of the school's owners.  Our children's future
depends on the continuing improvement of the public schools.  And school
improvement depends on our participation."

     On-line users can reach Project Appleseed by e-mail at
Applese212@aol.com.  Others can call 800/839-2077.  (2/14)

******************************************************************

PROJECT APPLESEED
PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT PLEDGE
copyright 1993 Project Appleseed

AS A PARENT, I propose a pledge of commitment to help our community's
children achieve a truly independent future.  My declaration of
responsibility and commitment to my public schools are state
d in these five self-evident truths as spoken by President Woodrow Wilson:

 -That I am an o
wner of the public school system;
 
 -That as an owner, I bear a responsibility to participate i
n the  system;

 -That accountability for my public schools and its employees  and its fundi
ng rests with me and the rest of the system's  owners;

 -That my child's future depends on t
he continual improvement  of public education;

 -And that this improvement depends on my partic
ipation;


THEREFORE AS A PARENT, I take personal responsibility for my child's
education.

 -I p
ledge to spend a minimum of fifteen minutes each school  night assisting my
child in his or her scho
olwork, or we will  work together in an enrichment activity;

 -I pledge to volunteer a minimum 
of five hours of my time to  my public schools each semester.

This is my commitment to our publi
c schools.  

Signed,

______________________                                     
STUDENT


 __
_____________________
PARENT              


Copyright 1993, Project Appleseed, St. Louis, MO.  Project Appleseed,
National Parental Involvement Day, Organized Parental Involvement and the
Parental Involvement Pledge are trademarks of Project Appleseed.  Project
Appleseed is an incorporated not-for-profit organization.

CLIP & MAIL***********************************************************

YES! enclosed is our contribution to become partners in America's school
improvement campaign, Project Appleseed. You can count on my support for
National Parental Involvement Day, November 17, 1994. Organized parental
involvem