Who We Are
POPS Chair Carol Lerner on a 2019 Tiger Bay Education Forum
Protect Our Public Schools (POPS) Manasota was established in the summer of 2017 to address the growing threat of school privatization in Sarasota and Manatee Counties. The group formed shortly after the passage of Florida House Bill 7069, also known as the “School of Hope” Bill, precipitated the organization of POPS. Persons who followed the impact of legislation affecting the public schools in Florida became extremely concerned about the draconian nature of that legislation which took millions of dollars away from districts’ capital budgets by transferring funds to charter schools. It also authorized the replacement of public schools, labeled as “failing schools” as determined by high stakes standardized testing with corporate-managed charter schools. One critic called this bill the “death knell of public education.” POPS official position is that “free, quality public education is a right for all children and is necessary for the optimal functioning of a democratic society. POPS opposes the privatization of public education.”
Our Advocacy Agenda
Timely information and insight on topics related to the strength and effectiveness of our public schools are of special concern for parents, grandparents, and other significant guardians/caretakers of our children who hope to make the best education decisions for their children. With this in mind, we realize that a website and Facebook page are a good start, but more outreach will be required to build the support needed to reverse the damage and funding reductions impacting Florida’s primary and secondary schools. This is especially true as we attempt to raise issues and influence legislative outcomes.
POPS’ advocacy agenda:
1. Providing an online website presence positioned as a repository of factual information and resources available to anyone interest in protecting our Public Schools.
2. Publishing a monthly newsletter to inform people supporting strong public schools of recent events, legislation, and community action.
3. Providing an active social media presence to present and distribute relevant education information as events occur.
4. Holding regular public meetings to review current and rising issues, educate attendees, and make decisions regarding activity needed to support POPS’ goals.
5. Developing, publishing, and distributing reports on topics supporting POPS’ goals and objectives.
6. Attending School Board workshops and meetings to monitor deliberations, decisions, and the impacts of legislation on funding and operations.
7. Engaging candidates running for School Board positions and the Florida Legislature to inform and influence their positions on issues POPS believes are best positioned in support of education in the public sector.
8. Sponsoring and publicizing candidate forums so that the views and positions of these candidates are clearly understood by voters before elections.
9. Reaching out to print and video media to promote issue visibility and understanding.
10. Active participating and engaging in forums sponsored by other organizations interested in Florida education.
11.Encouraging all our members and others to support rallies and demonstrations for causes aligned with POPS goals and objectives.
12. Holding our elected officials accountable for their words, actions, and decisions that impact the quality and availability of public education.
The people we elect to office need to know and understand the issues. They need to know that they will held fully accountable for all positions they take on issues, and should be straightforward in responding to the concerns of citizens they represent. Those that vote for these candidates need to be similarly informed.