Public Education Advocacy Team

What is PEAT?

  • A committee formed in 1974 to follow our Church’s tradition to support the quality and character of public education.
  • The CT Conference ministry team advocating on public policies related to public schools that focus on and promote quality, integrated education, and strengthen public schools to meet the challenges of a diverse society and world.

Why advocate for public education?

  • Maintain a foundation to democracy.
  • Keep essential development to abundant life for all.
  • Assure vital preparation for informed citizenship and productive participation in the world community.
  • Address risk from inadequate, inequitable funding, racial segregation, economic stratification, pressure to privatize, penalties imposed by “No Child Left Behind”, curriculum protection, and myths that malign the public school educational system.

What does public education advocacy have to do with our Christian Faith?

  • God loves all children and desires for all “abundant life.” Matt. 19:13-15 Let the little children come to me...”

  • God is a god of both love and justice. Micah 6:8 “...and what does the lord require of you but to do justice...”

  • Equality of opportunity is a justice issue. Amos 5:24 “Let justice roll down like waters...”

What role have churches played in the development of universal public education?

  • Martin Luther translated the Bible into the common language and argued, in 1523, that schools for the general populace were imperative so that all citizens could read.

  • Early reform leaders Ulrich Zwingli and John Calvin of Switzerland and John Knox of Scotland supported and established public schools.

  • The Pilgrims and Puritans established the first school in America in Plymouth in 1624. By 1650 both Massachusetts and Connecticut passed laws that every town of 100 families should establish grammar schools.

  • Harvard was founded in 1638 and Yale 1701 to advance learning and insure literacy of ministers and citizens. The number of colleges grew in New England and in the Middle Colonies, where the Reformed Churches played a roll.

  • In the 19th century, Congregational Churches helped establish schools at home and abroad, including schools for the freed slaves in the South

What can you and your church do to support public education?

  • Engage in tutoring and mentoring.
  • Advocate for adequate and fair funding for public schools and policies that support quality, integrated public education for all children.
  • Work to promote diversity and alleviate poverty.
  • Promote equality of opportunity as a justice issue.
  • Recruit members for PEAT.
  • Invite PEAT to speak at your church or lead a workshop or discussion.
  • Educate yourself. Two books we recommend are:
    - Kozol, Jonathan, The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America (New York, Crown), 2005.
    - Ken Goodman, ed., Saving Our Schools: The Case for Public Education (Berkeley, CA, RDR Books), 2004.

How do I contact PEAT?

Contact The Rev. George Easton, Chair

PEAT Member:
Joyce Allen
Martha Beaudoin
Bebe Dudley
The Rev. Dr. Mary Hawkes
Mary Phelps
The Rev. Vernon Phelps
Norma Sproul

With deep gratitude for the late Everett Watson, the late Rev. Fidelia Lane & the late Edward Turner, Jr.

Download the PEAT brochure