Earlier this year, I received news that Valorie Johnson, a program officer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, was planning to retire. As one of the few Native Americans working at a foundation, I celebrated her many accomplishments in the philanthropic sector. But I also grieved the impending loss of one the few Native influencers in philanthropy.
Schott is pleased to release our latest series of infographics, this time focusing on the barriers facing Black girls in our public schools. Only through using both a race and gender lens can we see — and fix — the unique systemic problems that Black girls must deal with on a daily basis.
Earlier this week parents, students, and educators gathered outside their schools in upwards of 80 cities, rallying in support of a more equitable, just, and well-funded public education system.
The Schott Foundation has been having an exciting few weeks of travelling around the country to share ideas, meet allied organizations, and see the work and future planes of our grantees highlighted in a variety of forums and conferences. It’s been great to see innovative and important conversations happening, and we’re glad to share with you some of the highlights!
Concerns about the importance and need to mobilize Black and Latino voters in 2016 and future elections have reached a fever pitch. But in many states and cities there are counterproductive disenfranchisement actions being taken that disempower Black and Latino communities -- the takeover of their public schools. In this attack on democracy, governance by locally elected school boards is stripped away altogether. This dismantling of democracy in predominantly poor communities and communities of color is now underway, or being proposed, in several states. 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 because the impact of the action minimizes their democratic voice and vote.
Why Arkansas? Four years ago, in February 2012, the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation (WRF) first posed that invitation as a question to fellow funders from across the country. In response, WRF hosted a statewide tour demonstrating to participants Arkansas’ readiness for education reform and investment.
The tour moved funders and advocates, including the Schott Foundation for Pubic Education, to create a full-fledged campaign. Initiated in 2012, the Arkansas Opportunity to Learn (AR OTL) Campaign unites disparate and distinct education advocacy organizations and grassroots groups. They all share a common goal: achieving education policy reforms that benefit all Arkansas students.
What will it take to ensure that all children have an opportunity to learn, regardless of their background or which school they attend? The work of the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado has long pointed out that the problems of inequity in public education aren’t just contained within our public schools, but also stem from larger structural issues in the community like unemployment, poverty, and disinvestment of public resources.
Since 2010, the Education Law Center has published national report cards on how states are (or aren't) investing in their schools and students. "Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card" released Wednesday, paints a worrying picture. In most states, ELC has found that public funding for schools is both unfair and inequitable: that is, not only are schools not receiving the funds they need, the schools that need funding the most are the ones with the most dramatic shortfalls.
Over three thousand students staged a walk-out on Monday to protest impending budget cuts to Boston Public Schools. Students marched downtown, through Boston Common, and rallied at the state house in an inspiring display of student power.
Schott's Senior Vice President of National Partnerships, Cassie Schwerner, was so impressed with Youth on Board’s new Boston Student Rights app – the first of its kind in the country – she decided to talk with staff and student leaders to learn more about it. Here, she chats with Carlos Rojas, Education Policy Organizer for Youth on Board (YOB).
CASSIE SCHWERNER: Why did young people, youth organizers, in the Boston area feel the need to create the Boston Student Rights app?
CARLOS ROJAS: Young people of color, trans youth and others are being criminalized and pushed out of schools. Did you see the video of the police officer in the South Carolina classroom? That sort of violence happens all over. We knew we needed a new organizing tool to help us reach young people in the schools – young people most affected by the school-to-prison-pipeline. But we also knew the tools we had used before, like palm cards and posters, were not practical for many of the situations young people find themselves in. We wanted something that could be immediately on hand when a young person was being confronted by figures of authority, something they would always have access to.
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