Mission & History
CPPS works to organize, educate, and empower parents and community members to constructively engage with Seattle district and civic leaders to build a world-class public school system.
- A high-quality school system is at the heart of a healthy city
- Public schools must meet the needs of all students
- All members of the community share responsibility for educating our children
- Actively involved families and communities are necessary to quality education
- Proactive involvement helps public schools attract all families in a community by making sure all schools effectively serve all children
- Parents have both a right and a responsibility to be constructive participants in the decision-making that affects their children’s education
- Public education is a cornerstone for democracy and America’s healthy future
Sometimes it takes a crisis to galvanize a disparate community into action. The parents of Seattle School District children faced such an emergency in 2005, the proposed closure of a number of schools, and it drew together concerned parents from all walks of life into one loud voice. That voice is CPPS of Seattle.
How One Crisis Can Build a Community…
The idea for a parent and community group occurred in the spring of 2005 when the district decided to close ten schools and reassign students to their neighborhood schools. Although many parents knew some changes were going to be made due to district financial woes, no one was expecting a decision that would impact so many families. When parents began to communicate, it became clear that individual school protests would not be as powerful as a group protest.
Unfortunately, although parents wanted to fight this proposal together, there was no organized group to unify people from so many different parts of the district. Soon after, a district-wide parent meeting was held to plan the protest and discuss the state of the district. After the group implemented board meeting testimonies, protests, and gathered media attention, Superintendent Raj Manhas decided to scrap the proposal and go through the process again.
Meanwhile many parents felt that there was still a need for a coalition of concerned parents because the district was not in a stable place. We decided to call the group “Communities for Public Education” (CPE). That summer, CPE members discovered that there was a national organization called Parents for Public Schools (PPS), whose goals mirrored our own. They already had chapters in many districts with the same challenges we were facing. We decided to become a chapter of this organization, although we kept “communities” in our chapter name to reflect our goal of embracing all community members. In January of 2006, we officially became Communities and Parents for Public Schools (CPPS) and incorporated into PPS.