The latest from the Schott Foundation and our allies.
Leading organizers in the educational justice movement discuss how the last ten years of parent and youth organizing helped lay the foundation for the emergence of mass protests and the campaign for police free schools and where the movement is going.
Communities are more than just the places we live and work, they are our homes. They are where we meet friends and partners, where we start families and raise children. They can also be places that cause joy and pain. That pain is often targeted, methodical and overwhelmingly impacts Black people. This pain doesn’t come from the city itself, but it actually is rooted in the lack of love that grows out of the policies and practices created by often misguided elected leaders.  This month, the Schott Foundation for Public Education released the second phase of its Loving Cities Index, which provides a comprehensive look at the systemic racism prevalent across education, health, and economic opportunity in ten of America’s largest cities. 
Today, August 3, is the National Day of Resistance by the Demand Safe Schools Coalition. This coalition, a nationwide partnership between community advocates and educators, has "come together to unite students, educators, parents and community to advance a racial justice agenda in public education, in particular by organizing for police-free schools. We’re working to galvanize a strong and growing student/educator/parent/community voice; a voice that says the government must go much further to provide the resources to ensure a safe and equitable school reopening and must provide for our communities and working families through transformational Common Good demands."
Schott President Dr. John H. Jackson was a guest on The Damage Report to discuss the launch of the second installment of Schott’s Loving Cities Index. As John explained, "We want to provide the public sector and philanthropy a new way to invest and assess whether or not cities are doing what's necessary to provide the ecosystem where all students can learn and all families can thrive.”
George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and now Rayshard Brooks — all Black people whose lives and purposes were snuffed out by White Supremacy. These four slain Americans were fathers, brothers, mothers, sisters, and one-time students of our nation’s public education system. If we acknowledge the truth about the systemic racism in our country, we must also acknowledge the impact that racism has on our children and their classrooms. For us, #BlackLivesMatter is more than just a hashtag or social media post. #BlackLivesMatter is a policy doctrine that should govern how we think about safety, health care, the economy and certainly our nation’s public schools.  For Black lives to matter, we must reconstitute our nation’s classrooms and ensure that they are places that push back against the epidemic of racism and anti-Blackness. Its symptoms include under-resourced school buildings, oversized classrooms, over-policing, less access to necessary protections, lack of opportunity, and disinvestment.  Together, we — parents, students, community, educators and our local unions — believe we can cure anti-Blackness in our children’s classrooms  Here are the 9 things we can do today to combat anti-Blackness and racism for the sake of our babies and their neighborhood public schools: 
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 presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, we're especially proud of the Class of 2020 graduates and the dedicated educators and support staff who helped millions of students successfully finish out the school year.
Schott President Dr. John H. Jackson appeared on Fox News this past weekend, arguing that the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the inequities in America's cities far beyond the schoolhouse, and that educators, districts and states will need billions of dollars in support from the Federal government in order to re-open safely this fall. He also discussed the new Loving Cities Index relates to this moment. "We know that parental income is the best predictor of student outcomes, and in many respects parental income is a proxy for a host of indicators," Jackson said, "access to healthcare, access to transportation, healthy foods. So we have to be able to measure the degree to which cities are able to provide these infrastructure supports, and do it in an equitable way, if we care about all students having a fair and substantive opportunity to learn."
Across the country, everyone is asking one question, “When will we get back to normal?” A cry similar to that of previous generations who often beckon back to the “good ole’ days.” If we are honest, the desire to get back to a place called “normal” is not because the past was better, but simply because it was familiar. The very fact that our past “normal” included a system where, in most school districts, you could identify by race and ethnicity which students were more likely to be suspended, expelled, or less likely to graduate says it all. Our past “normal” was actually abnormal (unless, for some reason which defies all science, you believe that intellect is distributed by race and ethnicity).
As we mark the Fourth of July and reflect on our nation’s promises of liberty and freedom, we must confront the fact that those promises are not equally fulfilled, especially for African Americans. If you ever doubted it, the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing acts of police brutality have made this extremely clear. Patriotism is not a performance act. In order to create real equity and justice we must hold our country accountable for its systemic racism and long history of denial of rights to Black Americans. As Frederick Douglass declared on July 5, 1852, "This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn.
The deliberate devaluation of Black-majority cities stems from a longstanding legacy of discriminatory policies. The lack of investment in Black homes, family structures, businesses, schools, and voters has had far-reaching, negative economic and social effects. White supremacy and privilege are deeply ingrained into American public policy, and remain pervasive forces that hinder meaningful investment in Black communities.


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