The Network for Public Education has split into two different entities.

The organization by that name will continue to support the improvement of public education and to produce studies, reports, meetings, and statements. Its new executive director is Carol Burris, who recently retired as principal of South Side High School in Rockville Center, Long Island, New York. Carol is a gifted writer; you may have read one of her many posts published by Valerie Strauss on The Answer Sheet blog at the Washington Post. She also received many honors for her leadership as a principal. In accordance with IRS rules and regulations, NPE is a 501 (c) 3 and contributions to it are tax-deductible.

The other part of NPE is called the NPE Action Fund. It will endorse candidates and produce studies and engage in other activities and public information to support public education. The NPE Action Fund is a 501 (c) 4; contributions to it are not tax-deductible. Its executive director is Robin Hiller of Tucson, Arizona. Until now, Robin was the overall executive director of NPE; when we realized we had to be two separate entities to comply with the IRS, Robin chose to lead our political action arm. Robin is the leader of Voices for Children in Tucson, which has served as NPE’s fiscal agent as we await official approval by the IRS. To be endorsed by the NPE Action Fund, candidates must contact Robin to obtain a questionnaire. Return it. It will be reviewed by a committee of NPE board members. We check out potential candidates with trusted local organizations.

Both sectors of NPE have three Board members who serve on both Boards: me, Anthony Cody, and a new board member, Cali Cole, a former business executive who shares our passion for public education and equity; Cali has the financial experience that some of us lack.

So expect more activity from a newly invigorated NPE. We will convene our third annual conference from April 15-17 in Raleigh, North Carolina. That state, now controlled by privatization zealots, needs us, all of us! We are thrilled that our major speaker will be the charismatic Rev. William Barber, the leader of the Moral Mondays movement for social justice in North Carolina and across the nation.

Meanwhile, the NPE Action Fund will be endorsing candidates in local and state elections who are true friends of public education. We can’t give them money, because we don’t the deep pockets. However, we will post a link to their website and encourage you to contribute whatever you can. District by district, city by city, state by state, we will strive to put the public back in public education and oust the out-of-state billionaires.

As we say at NPE, we are many, they are few. They have the money, we have the numbers. This is a democracy. Vote.