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Parents' Group Sets Out to Stave Off K-12 Spending Cuts

After witnessing a grim round of budget cuts to K-12 education in many states, a parents' organization is vowing to fight back against reductions it sees as harmful to students.

Parents for Public Schools, which was founded more than two decades ago, has launched a nationwide campaign to protest spending cuts in education and to rally families to the cause. The group is organizing a national petition in support of the effort, a document it promises to deliver to local, state, and federal policymakers.

The organization, and other like it, are likely to face a long, tough fight. At least 23 states have cut spending on prekindergarten or K-12 programs, according to one recent estimate. And many observers say that while state economies have been improving, they aren't expecting a major influx of new revenue anytime soon. Combine that with the drying up of federal stimulus aid, and that means schools could be facing lean budgets for at least a few years. (The effect of budget cuts on districts and communities is a topic I've explored in a pair of stories over the past few weeks.)

And even in states that are doing OK financially, school districts are likely to face difficult choices about which programs to fund, how large class sizes should be, and how to re-assign personnel, given limited revenues.

Parents for Public Schools was formed in 1989 by a group of parents in Jackson, Miss., with the goal of recruiting families to support public education. (The organization lists Deborah Meier, who co-authors an opinion blog for Ed Week, as one of its advisory board members.) Today, the organization has 17 chapters in 12 states. We'll see if its message on school spending will prove convincing among elected officials and others during this bad-budget era.

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