Since their protest at Elizabeth Warren’s rally in Atlanta in November, we’ve been following a group of parents who call themselves the “Powerful Parent Network” (PPN). Their latest stop? Pittsburgh. MSNBC is hosting a forum on education issues with 2020 Democrats and PPN is camped out at a hotel down the street from the forum.

If you’ve also been following their journey, then you know their latest initiative has been to raise money to meet with all of the 2020 presidential candidates. This forum couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. All the major Democractic candidates will be there, including Vice President Joe Biden, Senators Elizabeth Warren (we meet again!), Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, Cory Booker and Michael Bennet, as well as Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Tom Steyer.

It’s important to note that this event is also in-part sponsored by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). While of course it’s important to hear the voice of educators, the Powerful Parent Network is calling for more inclusion of parents in these conversations. PPN thinks “it’s important these candidates not just hear from educators, but hear from real parents whose children are being left behind generation after generation.”

And these parents aren’t just there to shoot the breeze, they’ve done their homework.

When Powerful Parent Network first arrived on the scene there was a lot of confusion on who they are and what they represent, so they’ve cleared some things up. Here’s how they describe themselves: non-partisan, non-endorsing and not an organization. So what are they? 

Just to be extra clear PPN is not an official organization. They are a movement of parent leaders around the nation who are united in three things: 

  1. A belief that our current education system is not working well for children in low-income communities of color, 
  2. We need to disrupt the inequities that exist by having more quality educational choices
  3. Activating more and more parents in our communities to help demand the change our children deserve. 

Another hanging question around PPN is whether or not they are “charter advocates” like everyone in the media says…not necessarily. They say they support quality schools of any type. Rather than focus on the type of school, they’re encouraging candidates to commit to improving the quality of all schools and ensure no child is trapped in a failing school.

I know there are some folks out there who think these parents might be bought and sold but honestly as a new mom myself I’m not getting on anyone’s travel bus to go to Pittsburgh of all places (no offense to Pittsburgh but I mean…) when I can be sleeping or having “me” time, unless I think it’s important and critical to my son’s future. I feel these parents 100%. 

If candidates aren’t going to go to parents, these powerful parents are coming to them. You can follow PPN’s journey to meet the candidates or tweet in support using #WhatAboutUs and #PowerfulParentNetwork.

Also, if you couldn’t make it to Pittsburgh, below you can let Democratic candidates know how you really feel by signing on to the #FixYourPlan Petition—all from the comfort of your home.

Democratic Candidates, #FixYourPlan!

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