Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Public Education

The most recent attacks on neighborhood public schools are being led by voucher proponents – individuals who have historically denied children their support for improved conditions in their public schools. For more than two decades, public school advocates have struggled so that minority and economically disadvantaged families could have schools that work for them. Vouchers jeopardize equity. Advocates of neighborhood public schools and community empowerment and proponents of the separation of church and state have allied to counter the very serious threat to public education. Many individuals in San Antonio expressed the need for a localized coalition and the need to work with other groups across the state to strengthen public learning communities. Hence, the idea for the Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Public Education was born.

What is the Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Public Education?
The Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Public Education is a San Antonio-based coalition of community organizations and individuals who support the use of public money for neighborhood public schools and oppose any effort to divert public tax funds to subsidize private schools. The group is dedicated to improving neighborhood public schools by helping to channel the community’s support for public education. Activities include information dissemination, leadership development and community activism at the grassroots level.

What is the Goal?
Vouchers or privatization of public schools will not improve conditions in public schools that are most in need. The only way to strengthen our neighborhood public schools is to strengthen our neighborhood public schools. We can renew the commitment to raise the quality of neighborhood public schools for all children through a public awareness and education campaign led by and geared toward families, community advocates and policy makers and through mobilizing families.

Who is the Audience?
With the aggressive campaign of the forces pushing for vouchers, advocates of excellent neighborhood public schools realize that it will be a large and effective grassroots effort that will make the difference. It is imperative that parents and neighborhood advocates voice their opposition to the depletion of resources in the community and express their concerns about the negative long-term impact that vouchers would pose.

Who is Participating in the Coalition?
The coalition has included representatives from several organizations, including the following.

Coalition for Public Schools

Intercultural Development Research Association

Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of San Antonio

Edgewood Independent School District

Grupo de Los Cien, San Antonio

Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund

Mexican American School Board Members Association

Pastors of Peace

San Antonio Independent School District

Texas Federation of Teachers

Texas Freedom Network

Texas State Teachers Association

United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO

Dr. Joe Bernal, member State Board of Education

Zane Chalfant, former executive director, Texas Parent Teacher Association

María Antonietta Berriozabal

Rev. Charles Foster Johnson

Manuel Garza

José García de Lara

Bertha Gonzales

Carolina Peña Rodriguez

María Teniente