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PRESS RELEASE: Concerned Parents to Deliver Over 1,000 Letters to Office of Public Instruction

Concerned Parents to Deliver Over 1,000 Letters to Office of Public Instruction

Montanans in over 100 communities call on Superintendent Artnzen to stop advocating for the privatization of public education


(HELENA, MT) - Montanans love and support their public schools. That’s why they are so concerned when Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Artnzen uses state resources to celebrate “School Choice Week” and attends pro-school privatization forums


"School choice" is the term that came out of focus groups funded by wealthy special interests that want to dismantle public education across America and in Montana. What "school choice" really means is "using public dollars to fund for-profit private schools." These private schools mean big checks to CEOs, but millions of dollars in wasted tax money.


“School Choice Week” was started by the far-right Gleason Family Foundation, which also funds the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Uncommon Charter Schools, and the radical Cato Institute. 


According to the National School Choice Week website, "National School Choice Week is nonpartisan and nonpolitical, and is not related to any legislative advocacy effort." That's beyond disingenuous. The "planning partner" listed for the events here in Montana is the Montana Family Foundation.


In addition to pushing a deeply homophobic agenda, the Montana Family Foundation literally lists "legislative advocacy" as part of its mission. That advocacy includes pushing for school privatization.


Today, concerned parents will deliver over 1,000 letters from Montanans across the state to Superintendent Artnzen’s office in Helena. The letters were signed by people in at least 106 Montana communities, which demonstrates the broad and diverse opposition to the privatization of education in Montana. A list of those communities can be found below. The body of the letter reads:


Dear Superintendent of Public Instruction Arntzen:


As the head of Montana's public education system, we strongly urge you to support public education and oppose the privatization of our schools, including "school choice."


Public education is the cornerstone of every Montana community and every child is entitled to a thriving public school. Diverting public money to private for-profit institutions starves public schools of vital resources. That's why I, like most Montanans, firmly believe public funds belong in public schools, which are open to all children and accountable to the community.


Nearly 400 Montanans added additional comments to their letters.


Montana communities voicing their opposition to “school choice” (i.e. “school privatization”)


Absarokee

Alberton

Anaconda

Belgrade

Bellmead

Belt

Biddle

Big Sandy

Big Sky

Big Timber

Bigfork

Billings

Black Eagle

Bonner

Boulder

Bozeman

Broadus

Browning

Butte

Cardwell

Charlo

Clancy

Clinton

Colstrip

Columbia Falls

Columbus

Condon

Corvallis

Culbertson

Cut Bank

Darby

Dassel

Deer Lodge

Dickinson

Dillon

Dutton

East Helena

Ekalaka

Emigrant

Ennis

Eureka

Fishtail

Florence

Fort Benton

Fort Peck

Fort Smith

Fortine

Gallatin Gateway

Glasgow

Glasgow

Glendive

Great Falls

Hamilton

Hardin

Harlem

Harlem

Havre

Helena

Huntley

Joliet

Livingston

Lolo

Los Angeles

Mackinaw City

Malta

Manhattan

Miles City

Minot

Missoula

Moiese

Nye

Ovando

Philipsburg

Plains

Plentywood

Polson

Poplar

Pray

Pray

Red Lodge

Ronan

Ronan

Saint Ignatius

Shelby

Sidney

St Marie

Stevensville

Sun River

Sunburst

Superior

Terry

Three Forks

Toston

Townsend

Trego

Twin Bridges

Ulm

Victor

Walkerville

West Yellowstone

Whitefish

Whitehall

Wibaux

Wisdom

Wyola

Yellowtail


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Stacks of letters addressed to Superintendent Arntzen

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