Happy Holidays! A Look Back at 2016

Happy Holidays from the Schott Foundation!

While 2016 was a tough year on many fronts, we accomplished so much this year, and nothing we did was possible without the hard work of grantees and partners like you.

Here are just a few incredible things we're grateful to you and our many exceptional partners for making possible in 2016:

  1. We had the largest grantmaking year in our history, providing nearly $3 million in grants to grassroots and policy organizations - and we leveraged millions more for our grantees from local and national donors.  We co-launched a new fund to support gender justice, the NYC Fund for Girls and Young Women of Color.
  2. The National Opportunity to Learn Network added over 2,500 new members, growing the network to over 27,000 members fighting for education justice.
  3. We launched our Grassroots Education Webinar series, engaging more than 3,000 participates in education and policy discussions across the country.
  4. Our local and state partners led key education policy and movement building victories in Massachusetts, California, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, New York, New Orleans, Chicago and Mississippi.
  5. We helped lift up a powerful message about the importance of public education with the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools on their nationwide “Walk Ins” actions this fall, involving 238 cities, an estimated 2,000 schools, and full-page ads in the Washington Post and New York Times.
  6. Communication Tools & Resources: We produced 7 policy infographics and 126 blog posts highlighting key policy solutions.
  7. Race and Gender Research: We partnered with four major research institutions to support implicit bias research, including the Center for Policing Equity who is conducting one of the largest school-to-prison pipeline studies in the nation.
  8. We launched our 25th Anniversary celebration with a public forum in Boston: Addressing Racism: Strategies for Systemic Change.

Here’s a brief recap of some of our most popular resources in 2016.

Shining a Spotlight on Black Girls
This resource illustrates some of the many problems Black girls face in our public schools, in what was our most popular infographic of the year. (You can check out all our infographics here.)

School District Takeovers: Bad for Students, Bad for Democracy
Dr. John H. Jackson, Schott Foundation President & CEO, warns against the anti-democratic takeovers of school districts that are happening across the country. “Denying these citizens' right to elect local school boards through state takeovers or mayoral control should sound the same alarm as denying them the vote.” Read more >

NY Advocates Walk 150 Miles for Equity
This past October, parents, educators, youth, and community organizers walked 150 miles from New York City to Albany, to commemorate 10 years since the court victory that called for more school funding, and fighting to make that funding a reality. The Campaign for Fiscal Equity was a hard fought campaign that took place both in the streets and in the courtroom, and the lessons learned from it are instructive to communities across the country who also need greater resources for their public schools. Read more >

Parent Power: Community Organizing as a Parent Engagement Strategy
In this blogpost, Schott’s Vice President of Programs & Advocacy, Edgar Villanueva, highlights two compelling examples of parent organizing: InnerCity Struggle in Los Angeles and Logan Square Neighborhood Association in Chicago. “Both are models that communities and organizers could replicate across the country,” Villanueva writes. “These amazing parents in Los Angeles and Chicago have been able to utilize community organizing to harness parent power to generate concrete change within public schools.” Read more >

Lifting All Children Up
We worked with the National Education Policy Center to craft a new visual metaphor for describing both the internal and external challenges that kids face in schools, and the different means by which policymakers could remedy them. (You can check out all our infographics here.)

A Question of Better Education for All
One of the most compelling silver linings from the 2016 election was the overwhelming rejection of the Question 2 referendum in Massachusetts. The Schott Foundation was proud of its grantees’ tireless efforts to stop Question 2, which would have drastically expanded the number of charter schools across the state. As Schott’s President & CEO, Dr. John H. Jackson, put it in an October op-ed, “Expanding the number of charter schools reinforces a caste system of private, charter and public schools. This is not visionary leadership or the bold leap needed to keep all Massachusetts students advancing as leaders in the nation.” Read more >

Thousands of Boston Students Walk-Out Against Budget Cuts
On a chilly March morning, thousands of Boston students walked out of their classes and converged at the State House, marching in opposition to proposed budget cuts that would slash the resources dedicated to Boston Public Schools. In addition to speaking out against the cuts, many students also testified later that day in a State House hearing on whether Massachusetts should lift its cap on charter schools. Check out photos and videos of this inspiring day of action, and you will see why Boston youth are ready for the austerity fights to come. Read more >

Webinar: Addressing Classroom Bias to Improve Learning
Schott partner, the Center for Policing Equity (CPE) has earned headlines and praise for its research of the intersections of policing and implicit bias, most recently in releasing landmark data showing how police use-of-force incidents against Black people were disproportionate — more than three times higher than whites.
The Schott Foundation joined CPE for an exclusive webinar in participants unpacked the latest research and insights on policing and implicit bias in schools, sketched out new paths for restorative practices, and discussed the kinds of policy reforms needed in schools and communities to make school discipline reform a reality. Watch >
(You can check out all our webinars here.)

Highlighting grassroots education justice organizers
For this year’s Giving Tuesday, throughout November we highlighted five of our grantees who are making a difference across the country — from Pennsylvania to Louisiana, and Massachusetts to Mississippi. Learn more >

Boston #ReclaimOurSchools Walk-in
On February 17th, Boston parents, teachers, and students participated in nationwide walk-ins to #ReclaimOurSchools. Organized by the Alliance to Reclaim our Schools, these walk-ins were a show of community support for public schools and a demand for fully funded, high-quality, and equitable education. 40,000 people participated in the walk-ins across the country, which took place in over 30 cities. Boston schools were on break, but there was still great turnout at the statehouse as hundreds rallied to protest proposed school budget cuts and raising the charter capRead more >

Webinar: Beyond the First Look: Turning Local Data Into Action
Schott partnered with Dignity in Schools member organizations to analyze the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights 2013-2014 “First Look” data at public schools and districts. Webinar participants included Citizens for a Better Greenville (MS) Director Joyce Parker, Racial Justice NOW! (OH) Co-founder and Director Zakiya Sankara-Jabar, and Gwinnett SToPP (GA) Founder Marlyn Tillman. The briefing allowed time to explore the data and to discuss how the advocates involved in the webinar can use this data to drive organizing work grounded in racial justice.
Watch >
(You can check out all our webinars here.)

And be sure to watch our exciting video highlighting Schott’s work in action — with many of you. And thank you for everything you have done to support an opportunity to learn for all children!

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