Jeanette Deutermann is a parent who lives on Long Island. She launched the nation’s biggest opt out movement in her community. It was all grassroots. Here she reflects on the dramatic spread of the movement. It started with a few determined individuals. As Margaret Mead said, that’s the way all movements begin.

Jeanette writes:

We have truly accomplished something amazing, regardless of numbers and stats. We have empowered parents and made ordinary citizens feel that they have a voice in their communities. We have turned everyday moms and dads into political and education activists who know more about their government and our education system than most politicians and education department leaders. We have taught teachers how to be unionists. And we have taught kids how to be Upstanders!!! You guys are amazing. It has been my greatest pleasure to be on this journey with each and every one of you. Thank you.

I am reflecting tonight on how far we have come. This started with a simple idea. An idea that our children should love to learn. That our schools should be a place of creativity, passion, and inspired learning. We had all felt that something just “wasn’t quite right”. We spoke to each other. We met in coffee houses. We held meeting in each other’s homes. We went to forums at our local libraries, community centers, and schools. We listened to our children’s educators who spend every day with our children. We educated ourselves and each other. We talked to our children.

More importantly we LISTENED to our children, and we finally HEARD our children. They had been asking for our help all along and we just didn’t know it. We do now, and nothing is going to stop us.

We should all be so very proud of ourselves. This has not been easy, but I promise you, your efforts will be rewarded. The entire country is watching us, seeing what a few parents, that turned into 50, that turned into 1,000, that turned into an army of moms, dads, students, community members, and teachers, can accomplish. You all amaze me. You have shown courage, perserverence, and support to me and each other, and I thank you all for believing that your child’s education is worth fighting for.

The domination of high-stakes standardized tests in our education system will end. Our work is far from over, but what we have accomplished in two short years is simply amazing!! The era of education plans made without parent, student, and educator involvement is coming to an end. We are awake. We are aware. We are Upstanders. There is nothing we cannot accomplish together. A special thank you to my team of liaisons, who are the key to the success we have had on Long Island. The legislature spoke on April 1st with their plan for our children’s education. We answer as we raise our collective voices to say “WE DO NOT CONSENT”!!!! In gratitude and solidarity….