The latest from the Schott Foundation and our allies.
Over the past year, much of the nation’s education discussion has been where learning was taking place: on Zoom? In the classroom? Both? While COVID-19 exacerbated existing inequities around access, focus is now being drawn to what students are learning. Debate over curriculum isn’t new, but has been contested in varying degrees for decades. Before the right-wing-stoked controversy over so-called “Critical Race Theory” there were debates over Common Core standards, and before that No Child Left Behind. What is new is the incredible strides parent and community organizing has made in shifting the curriculum of the nation’s largest school district.
The massive, downright Dickensian difference in funding between schools that sometimes are mere blocks from each other has been a hallmark of New York's public education system for generations. Until this past spring, when everything changed. What caused a massive policy shift — worth billions of dollars — in the face of a seemingly permanent funding crisis?
Local public schools and their educators have produced America’s most brilliant artists, scientists, doctors, musicians, lawyers, presidents, and more — people from all walks of life, contributing to society in countless ways. Given the incredible challenges and obstacles they faced, we're especially proud of the Class of 2021 graduates, their families, and the dedicated educators and support staff who helped millions of students successfully complete the school year.
The scale of the broad federal funding in the American Rescue Plan (ARP) presents an opportunity for transformative change – but only if funds are invested to address systemic racism and advance equity. This requires sustained organizing to ensure accountability and community participation to direct investments – and ongoing, transparent structures to incorporate community input.
The Journey for Justice Alliance (J4J) just launched its new Quality of Life Agenda initiative, as part of its Equity or Else campaign. By encompassing not just the school but the community that surrounds it, this initiative could be a pivotal for the education justice movement in a moment when federal resources are available to kickstart such an ambitious agenda.
Two weeks ago, Schott convened our Opportunity to Learn Network, including policy experts and veteran education justice organizers, to provide an overview of the American Rescue Plan and a detailed roadmap for community members to have a say in allocation of the funds.
The next few months are pivotal in determining whether the billions of dollars in the federal recovery funds move us toward education justice, or increase race, gender, and class inequities.
The time is now. For many of us in philanthropy, we have never seen a major policy expansion to support children and families like the President proposed last evening. But how did we arrive here, and how can philanthropy ensure more moments like this?
The guilty verdict in the Chauvin trial is a step forward in police accountability and a hopeful sign of progress toward dignity and humanity for all Americans. We give our thanks to the millions of young people, parents and activists who took to the streets after the murder of George Floyd – building a movement and making this verdict possible.
For all the pressing education matters facing students, parents, and educators, the proposed American Jobs Plan (often referred to as “the infrastructure bill”) can at first glance appear to be unimportant: what does highway and bridge construction have to do with the classroom? But if the contents of the proposed bill are carried out, it would be one of the most transformative education bills in a generation. Let’s walk through some of the details to learn how.