For Immediate Release
November 6, 2014
Contact: Kimi Lee, Melrose Leadership Academy PTSA President, 213-864-1744
Kim Davis, Parents United for Public Schools, 510-219-0950
Oakland PTA Leaders Denounce Misleading Election Campaign
Wall Street & Silicon Valley Billionaires Using Deceptive Name to Mislead Voters
Oakland, CA: On election eve, current and former Parent Teacher Association (PTA) leaders from a number of schools within the Oakland Unified School District are speaking out against a misleading campaign by Wall Street & Silicon Valley billionaires trying to influence local school board elections.
The special interest campaign, which is flooding local school board elections with outside money, is being heralded by a Super PAC that calls itself the Parent Teacher Alliance. This appears to be an attempt to confuse voters and dupe them into thinking that the campaign is being supported by the more traditional non-profit & non-partisan Parent Teacher Association. Concerned by the apparently intentional similarities between the name selected by the political Parent Teacher Alliance and that of the non-profit PTA, the California PTA put out a press release in June of this year informing voters that the Super PAC is not connected to the Parent Teacher Association.
“We believe they are using the name ‘Parent Teacher Alliance’ to mislead voters. Oakland schools are not for sale, and Oakland parent leaders will not stand by while these outside billionaires attempt to mislead voters,” stated Kimi Lee, the President of the PTSA of Melrose Leadership Academy.
PTA and PTSA leaders from schools throughout Oakland released the following statement:
As leaders and members in the Parent Teacher Associations (PTA), Parent Teacher Student Associations (PTSA) and Parent Teacher Organizations (PTO) at public schools throughout Oakland, we stand in opposition to the misleading campaigning by the Parent Teacher Alliance.
The Parent Teacher Association is a national non-profit organization with branches in every state and region that serves all students and never endorses political candidates. It is trusted by parents, teachers and communities throughout California (and the country) as a voice for public schools and children. By contrast, the similarly named Super PAC “Parent Teacher Alliance” is a political organization sponsored and funded by the California Charter Schools Association Advocates, which floods communities with outside money from Wall Street and Silicon Valley billionaires in order to convince voters to support their endorsed school board candidates.
The National and California PTA have expressed concerns about the apparently deliberate similarities between the naming of the Super PAC and the PTA, issuing a “cease and desist” letter and a statement that the use of the name “gives an appearance … that seems to trade on the credibility and reputation” of the PTA, causing public “confusion.” We join with the PTA in protesting the misleading and continued use by the Parent Teacher Alliance of a name which causes voter confusion and may result in unintended and unfair outcomes.
As the Chair of the Fair Political Practices Commission we demand that you ensure voters are not misled in this election, and future elections, by prohibiting this Super PAC from using the Parent Teacher Alliance name. This Super PAC is NOT affiliated with the PTA and there are many parents, including the undersigned, who oppose its involvement in our school board elections in this unfair manner.
Kimi Lee, President, Melrose Leadership Academy PTSA
Etel Calles, Vice President, Melrose Leadership Academy PTSA
Linda Handy, President, Kaiser Elementary School PTA
Christy Getz, President, Edna Brewer Middle School PTSA
Ben Visnick, Treasurer & Past President, Oakland High School PTSA
Esther Gulli, First Vice President, Montera Middle School PTO
Yulanda Young Smith, Co-President, Crocker Highlands PTA
Jennifer Houser, Volunteer Coordinator, Melrose Leadership Academy PTSA
Liz Suk, Room Parent Coordinator, Melrose Leadership Academy PTSA
Joel Velasquez, Former President, Westlake Middle School PTSA
Ramon Nasol, Former Parliamentarian, Vice President & President, Joaquin Miller Elementary School PTA
Kristen Caven, Past President, Oakland Technical High School PTSA
Cathy Shadd Rosenfeld, Former Historian, Oakland Technical High School PTSA
April Schlenk, Former Co-Chair, Sequoia Elementary School PTO (FOSS)
Nancy Murr, Former VP of Communications, Oakland Technical High School PTSA
Guy Spencer, Past President, Montera PTO & Past Executive Vice President, Joaquin Miller Elementary School PTA
Melinda Gallagher, Past Secretary, Kaiser Elementary School PTA
** Titles for identification purposes only
The Oakland parent leaders have also put the statement online as a petition for other PTA members and leaders to sign at the following URL: http://bit.ly/StopMisleadingParents.