The War Report on Public Education, September 25, 2016
The War Report on Public Education with Dr James Avington Miller Jr. and guests, Wendy Lecler and Jonathan Pelto
Jonathan Pelto has been actively involved in Connecticut public policy, advocacy and electoral politics for 40 years.
Presently, an investigative blogger and citizen journalist, Pelto uses blogging and social media as advocacy tools to educate, persuade and mobilize people with a focus on issues related to public education and the Corporate Education Reform Industry’s growing efforts to undermine and privatize public education in the United States.
In addition to writing a daily blog, which has become the most read commentary site in Connecticut, he has also written a number of articles about education reform issues for media outlets including The Progressive Magazine and Truthout.
In conjunction with education advocate Diane Ravitch, Pelto created and continue to manage the Education Bloggers Network, a confederation of over 238 bloggers and commentators from around the country who share a belief in public education and a willingness to use their time and energy fighting against the Corporate Education Reform Industry.
In 1984, Pelto was elected to the Connecticut House of Representatives as a senior at the University of Connecticut and, over five terms, rose to the level of Deputy Majority Leader. Pelto was a long-time member of the Appropriations and Education Committee and chaired the Appropriations Sub-Committee on Higher Education.
Since leaving the Legislature in 1993, he’s worked as a communications strategist developing and implementing sophisticated public relations, media relations and advocacy programs aimed at educating, persuading and mobilizing targeted audiences. His clients have included many of Connecticut’s most significant non-profit organizations, corporations, associations and unions, as well as Native American Tribes.
Over the years he’s also managed or worked on numerous political campaigns at the federal, state and local levels including campaigns Chris Dodd, Gary Hart, Connecticut gubernatorial and congressional campaigns and many state legislative races.
In 2014, Pelto was a petitioning candidate for governor in Connecticut running as the nominee of the newly created Education and Democracy Party. Pelto’s running mate was Hartford Connecticut educator and policy activist, Ebony Murphy. Pelto and Murphy were not able to collect the necessary signatures to get on the November 2014 ballot.
Wendy Lecker is a senior attorney at the Education Law Center, where she oversees ELC's school funding and school equity work in New York. Wendy was a staff attorney at the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE), plaintiffs in New York’s landmark school funding case. She has also worked as a consultant in education finance and policy for The Rural School and Community Trust and Connecticut Voices for Children. She is currently an education columnist for Hearst Connecticut Media Group.
The format of THE WAR REPORT ON PUBLIC EDUCATION explores one of the most important events in our life time - the total takeover of our educational system by corporate interests. This show is about the 'corporate' war on public education and the rising public resistance movement to the war. Dr. James Avington Miller, Jr. invites guests from all over who join the rising public resistance movement against the corporate greed taking on our public school system. He is interested in growing a grass-roots movement here in the United States and in Europe against the 'corporate interests' that are limiting both teachers and students everywhere.
This October 2015 he is taking his show on the road as he embarks on a very special project. His long awaited project ‘The People’s Story' is an effort to reach out to those individuals whose voices are not being heard in educational arenas everywhere. He will be interviewing, filming and collecting stories from parents, teachers, students and community members in the rural and urban areas of the Eastern United States to include Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Washington D.C. Many lives are being impacted and harmed by the ongoing corporate war on public education that exists today. The consequence of the rapid privatization of our schools is inhumane and devastating to our teachers, schools and most importantly, our children.
His primary mission is to create a documentary/television series for PBS and the Arts & Entertainment Channel that will expose the human cost of man’s inhumanity to man. The objective is to document people’s stories from each state and create a one hour TV Episode for that state evolving into a 30-35 part series. Dr. Miller expects to have the first TV show ready by next summer. This will propel the ‘corporate war on public education’ front and center as a local, state and national campaign issue. Determined to awaken the world on a national level by providing a series of programs that will lead to understanding the whole picture – he hopes to demand an end to the Corporate Elite and their destruction of public education.
Dr. Miller is seeking funding for ‘The People’s Story’ project from friends, family and the public to cover the expenses that this will entail. If you care about the future of education, please support this most important project and be part of history in the making. This has been and will continue to be Dr. Miller's dream to complete and certainly his life's legacy.