Just a Sign? Think Again.

For the last 2 years, we have taken report after report of Stand signs being brazenly stolen or defaced in acts of vandalism. We have heard reports of blatant trespassing. Many households have reported that as soon as they replaced their sign, it would be stolen, again.

You may say to yourself, yes, but it's just a $5 sign, what's the big deal? But, think again.

These signs symbolize our First Amendment Rights. They symbolize our voice as a community. These signs are the vehicle with which we are able to be heard on an issue that impacts each and every one of us, one level or another.

This community rallied and donated to Stand so that we would have the ability to have our voices heard when they were undemocratically silenced. One $5 sign has very quickly added up to thousands of dollars in stolen property that was paid for by this community. People donated their hard earned money for a sign to support a cause that they believe in, only to have another person yank it out of the ground and toss it in a dumpster as if their neighbor’s voice doesn't count. Are you okay with that? We aren't.

If you believe in the First Amendment, you will not approve of anyone attempting to squash your right to free speech, even if they don't like what you have to say, perhaps especially if they don't like what you have to say.

And, while we understand that some do not like the messages that the signs send, we also understand that theft is theft! Most of us teach our children from a very young age the simple concept that stealing is bad. Even if it’s something you really, really want, or, it only costs a few dollars. We all know it’s morally wrong to steal - and it’s also against the law. The same is true for trespassing and vandalism. We firmly believe that these many transgressions should not be dismissed - that we should not let these acts silence us.

If you have been the victim of a sign or magnet theft and would like either replaced, please let us know by emailing hello@standwithrossvalleyschools.org

Please also consider filing a police report.

Because it’s not just a sign.

STAND FOR ALL STUDENTS - Sound familiar? Yeah, we thought so too

When Imitation isn’t the sincerest form of flattery.

In this case, we who are standing (for truly public education) for all students have noted that charter school institutions and advocates have taken up the "new" phrase - Stand for All Students.

We at STAND With Public Education were not surprised by charter supporters co-opting our signature phrase and even our signature logo color (bordering on infringement of intellectual property, trademark and copyright laws). Why are we not surprised? Because we've watched charters take resources and try to sell the idea of progressive education (ask a charter supporter what that means sometime) in our communities for years now.

Charter groups did something similar to the California Teachers Association (CTA) recently. Before the November election, the CTA ran a campaign educating Californians about the harm charters were causing to public school districts. They created a new website (https://kidsnotprofits.com/) dedicated to informing the public about the lack of accountability, the lack of equity, the fact that money was being made off of public commons, among other topics. The California Charter School Association (CCSA) purchased a website that was nearly identical to the CTA website in name, it ended in https://kidsnotprofits.ORG instead of .COM. If someone seeking more information about the damage charters are causing just happened to enter the wrong website address, or clicked on the wrong search item, they'd go to the CCSA website, which touts the alleged benefits and “strong” support of charter schools. It is clearly an attempt to mislead the public.

Charter supporters also created and used the deceptive moniker “Parent Teacher Alliance” which mimics the familiar sound of the well-known PTA (Parent Teacher Association) which is a beneficial organization, found in many schools around the country. During the Los Angeles Unified School Board elections some voters received visits at their homes from pro-charter school canvassers claiming to be "volunteers with the Parent Teacher Alliance."

The Parent Teacher Alliance volunteers used false PTA name recognition, as they volunteered for the California Charter Schools Association, until cease and desist notices from the National Parent Teacher Association forced them to stop. The Parent Teacher Alliance spent over $550,000 on advertising, phone banking and door-knocking hoping to influence the L.A. Unified race.

The CCSA and other charter supporting organizations are run by moneyed interests who want to make profits. They have a financial interest in these schools' success. To those who have had unwelcome charters in their communities, these questionable tactics are nothing new.

Reading advertisements that say Stand for All Students sounds great on the surface. It is essentially what STAND WITH PUBLIC SCHOOLS is doing. We care about the schools, teachers, students and families in our communities. We want all of our kids to thrive. Pointing out how charter schools are harming our communities is something for which we are proud to keep STANDing, because we are standing for all students.

The blatant imitation of STAND With Public Education shows that the corporate, privatizing interests funding charter schools find our grassroots organization to be a threat and they are trying to mitigate the damage of our education efforts. So when you see ads and rallies claiming to Stand for All Students, remember those aren't the original people standing for public education and Standing for ALL of our students.

Frankly, we are not flattered.