The latest from the Schott Foundation and our allies.
FL Education Commissioner Tony Bennett, who made his name advocating for school "accountability," is resigning in the wake of a scandal over his role in minipulating school rankings. There's a bigger problem: "Accountability" is part of a rigged education reform agenda that demonizes struggling pubic schools while letting policymakers off the hook for failing to invest in them.
A great video series from the Public Interest Projects' Just and Fair Schools Fund profiles grassroots groups across the country who are making real headway in the fight to end harsh discipline policies and the school-to-prison pipeline. Padres y Jovenes Unidos, featured in Part 1, is a Denver-based OTL ally.
For all the positive-sounding rhetoric around "competition" and "accountability," forcing individuals or organizations to compete for resources and scapegoating employees instead of addressing larger structural problems doesn't do any business any good. Despite their failure in the private sector, these same strategies have become the dominant education reform agenda in our nation's schools.
A national poll reveals that parents overwhelmingly prefer to have strong, neighborhood public schools rather than "school choice" options like charer schools and vouchers. Parents are also concerned about the rise of high-stakes testing in our nation's schools and the need to provide students with wraparound supports and a well-rounded curriculum.
Student organizers defending their public schools have become a regular (and inspiring) fixture at Chicago Board of Education meetings lately. At this week's meeting, 20 students took the podium to give powerful testimony about the disastrous impact that school closures, underfunding and high-stakes testing have had on their education. Above all, they are demanding a voice in the decisions affecting them.
Here's a fun fact: If our public schools were allowed to do away with high-stakes standardized testing and the 60-110 hours they spend on test prep each year, they could add almost an entire period to the school day. And they could put the $700-1000 per student it costs to administer and prep for those test to better uses like funding pre-K programs or hiring college admissions counselors.
Four months after its exciting bus tour through NYC's boroughs, A+ NYC has released "Whole Child, Whole School, Whole City," an engaging report illustrating the ideas that parents, students, educators, and community members want the next NYC mayor to consider to support their schools and help every kid succeed.
In a lawsuit filed by New York City parents and the Education Law Center's Campaign for Fiscal Equity, the State Supreme Court ruled that the city had "flagrantly violated" a law meant to give parents and communities a voice in the development of the city's education budget:
A new report from New York City Comptroller John Liu compares the city's pervasive use of zero-tolerance discipline policies in schools to the city's controversial and discriminatory stop-and-frisk practices. While the report is particular to NYC schools, its analysis of the school pushout crisis and what needs to change can be readily applied to any district in the country, which makes it a terrific resources for advocates and organizers.
The Student Voice Photo Booth is a picture-based project where students make signs explaining why their voice is important in the education debate, snap a picture of themselves with the signs, and then upload and share the pictures online. Add yours!


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