Parents United for Responsible Education


Chicago, IL

Tax ID:


Budget (2012):

Revenue: $64,085
Expenses: $41,558
Assets: $22,049


Education Reform Advocacy

Executive Director:

Julie Woestehoff

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Parents United for Responsible Education (PURE) (not to be confused with People United in Responsible Education (PURE)) was a left-of-center nonprofit advocating for education policies. PURE appears defunct and its former website no longer functions. The group’s Facebook page stopped updating in October 2018. 1


Parents United for Responsible Education formed out of a weekly meeting of parents to criticize local school leaders in the Chicago area during the month-long 1987 Chicago teachers’ strike. It emerged as one of numerous parent-led education groups that took an active role in education policy over the following decades. For instance, during a 2004 round of proposed school closures in the Chicago area, PURE members camped out overnight on the sidewalk in front of the school district’s headquarters to testify at a Board of Education hearing. These efforts were dramatized in the 2012 film Won’t Back Down. 2 3

Policy Goals and Activities

Parents United for Responsible Education executive director Julie Woestehoff has written extensive education policy recommendations on behalf of the organization. For instance, Woestehoff advocated alterations to the No Child Left Behind Act largely based on reducing the importance of standardized testing, such as giving parents the ability to opt their children out of any state-administered standardized tests, and prohibiting the use of standardized tests as the sole measure of student performance. 4

PURE advocated for the creation of “Local School Councils” (LSCs) to negotiate school policies. LSCs consist of six parents, two non-parent community members, two teachers, one non-teacher staff, the school principal, and one high school student, all of whom are elected besides the student. LSCs should have the power to appoint principals, evaluate principals, and approve school budgets. 5 PURE pioneered the establishment of LSCs in Chicago in the late 1980s. 6

In January 2013, PURE filed a complaint with the Illinois Inspector General’s office asking for an investigation into how funds are spent by UNO Soccer Academy High School, a charter school. 7

In 2012, PURE staged protests against Noble Street College Prep, a charter school in Chicago, over a school policy of fining students for infractions, such as violating the dress code. Woestehoff told a reporter, “We think this just goes over the line […] Fining [students] for having their shoelaces untied [or] a button unbuttoned [is] harassment, not discipline,” and claimed some students had been pulled out of the school for being unable to pay. 8

PURE opposes government funding of private-school-choice programs. 9


In 2004, Parents United for Responsible Education received $200,000 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation “to promote effective parent-school partnerships in the Chicago school system.” 10

PURE received funding from Resist, a left-wing nonprofit that primarily funds ideologically aligned local activist groups with modest budgets. 11


From 1995 to 2014, Julie Woestehoff was the executive director of Parents United for Responsible Education. Woestehoff was interim executive director of the also likely defunct Parents Across America, a national off-shoot of PURE. 12 Woestehoff also served as a Local School Council member. 13 14 Woestehoff has earned a leadership award from the Ford Foundation. 15

Willard C. Hall Jr. was a board member of PURE. Hall was a faculty member at the Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, and president of the advisory council at the Minority Health Alliance Howard County. 16 17


  1. “Parents United for Responsible Education (PURE).” Facebook. Accessed May 23, 2023.
  2. Kelleher, Maureen. “Can history repeat itself and spark a parent revoloution?” The Chicago Reporter. May 31, 2016. Accessed May 26, 2023.
  3. “About Julie Woestehoff.” Nevada State Legislature. Accessed May 23, 2023.
  4. “Parents United for Responsible Education (PURE) position paper Assessment and Accountability under NCLB.” Decemeber 1, 2009. Accessed May 23, 2023.
  5. “About Julie Woestehoff.” Nevada State Legislature. Accessed May 23, 2023.
  6. Bacon, David. “Trigger Laws – Does Signing a Petition Give Parents a Voice.” ReThinking Schools. Accessed May 23, 2023.
  7. Delgado, Jennifer. “Parents raise questions about UNO charter schools’ use of millions from state grant.” Chicago Tribune. January 22, 2013. Accessed May 23, 2023.
  8. “Pay Up!” Achieve 3000. March 21, 2012. Accessed May 23, 2023.
  9. “Parents United for Responsible Education (PURE).” Facebook. Accessed May 23, 2023.
  10. “Parents United for Responsible Education P U R E.” Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Accessed May 23, 2023.
  11. “Parents United for Responsible Education (PURE).” Resist. Accessed May 23, 2023.
  12. “Won’t Back Down: Myth-Making Can’t Stand Up to Real Life Education Heroes.” Beacon Broadside. October 4, 2012. Accessed May 23, 2023.
  13. [1] “Julie Woestehoff.” LinkedIn. Accessed May 23, 2023.
  14. “About Julie Woestehoff.” Nevada State Legislature. Accessed May 23, 2023.
  15. “Julie Woestehoff.” Huffington Post. Accessed May 23, 2023.
  16. “Willard C. Hall Jr.” LinkedIn. Accessed May 23, 2023.
  17. “Julie Woestehoff.” LinkedIn. Accessed May 23, 2023.
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Nonprofit Information

Available Filings

Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
2012 Jun Form 990EZ $64,085 $41,558 $22,049 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
2011 Jun Form 990EZ $9,352 $14,935 $8,062 $27,376 $0 $0 $0 $0

Additional Filings (PDFs)

Parents United for Responsible Education

Chicago, IL