The latest from the Schott Foundation and our allies.
When striking Los Angeles teachers won their demand to call for a halt to charter school expansions in California, they set off a domino effect, and now teachers in other large urban districts are making the same demand. Unchecked charter school growth is also bleeding into 2020 election campaigns. Recently, New York magazine columnist Jonathan Chait berated Democratic Massachusetts Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren for having opposed a ballot initiative in her home state in 2016 that would have raised a cap on the number of charter schools. “There may be no state in America that can more clearly showcase the clear success of charter schools than [Massachusetts],” declared Chait. But while Chait and other charter school fans claim Massachusetts as a charter school model, the deeper reality is that charters are driving Boston’s public education system to the financial brink.
Most people have a complex relationship with money. We either live in a state of perpetual lack, spend frivolously and without intention, or use it in ways that perpetuate harm. This is true for individuals and it is also true for institutions. The way to change our relationship with money is to dissect and examine it. As the philanthropic sector, we need to be having frank conversations about where wealth came from, why it’s held back from public coffers, how it’s invested as an endowment, and who gets to manage, allocate and spend it. As a Native American who has seen the ravages of colonialism and as someone who works in philanthropy, I know that understanding our historical relationship with wealth is not just a good idea; it is a moral imperative. No industry is immune from developing an unhealthy relationship to currency.
At the Schott Foundation we’ve been working for more than twenty-five years to support and empower the grassroots, community-centered organizations that are building movements strong enough to enact serious policy change. Here are a few ways to look at our impact in 2018 — which we're using to inform our 2019 strategy.
Today, as a member of the Lumbee Tribe and a foundation official, I plan to join with people across the United States to observe the third annual National Day of Racial Healing. Started by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, this national day is designed to bring Americans together to demonstrate solidarity and work toward healing our racial divides. But what does it take to truly heal?
More than 30,000 teachers at the Los Angeles Unified School District — the second-largest school district in the country after New York City — are about to go on strike. Support for L.A. teachers has been pouring in from across the country and, crucially, from within their own community too. Here is what you need to know about the upcoming strike and the politics & organizing around it:
2018 was a pivotal year in the education justice movement, for both bad and good reasons. We saw Education Secretary DeVos’ penchant for privatization and ultra conservative viewpoints result in actions like the imposition of harmful new Title IX guidance and the systematic dismissal of civil rights complaints. But we also saw a historic wave of teacher strikes roll across the nation, and scores of victories for public education in states, cities, and districts. Indeed, in this ESSA world most education policy struggles have been taking place below the Federal level — this trend should continue and accelerate in 2019, particularly as many municipal and school board officials face the voters this November. At the Schott Foundation we’ve been working for more than twenty-five years to support and empower the grassroots, community-centered organizations that are building movements strong enough to enact serious policy change. Here are ten policy victories our grantee partners and allies have celebrated in 2018, all of which provide the momentum for the important work ahead this year.
This week the New York Times profiled Schott Vice President Edgar Villanueva's new book Decolonizing Wealth and raised up his urgent call for a new direction in the philanthropic sector. As a public fund that supports funders in advancing social justice philanthropy, we at Schott are proud of Edgar and the deeply thoughtful dialogue he is sparking.
The Journey for Justice Alliance (J4J) is a national network of Black and Brown led, grassroots community-based organizations in more than 30 cities. Every day they are building the grassroots organizing needed to win community-driven school improvement and equity in public education. On a very small budget J4J has been able to make an incredible impact at the local and national level — which makes your donation all the more important. We at Schott are proud to stand with and support J4J, and hope you will too:
For those of you who tweet entirely too much (which applies to many of us at Schott!) we've assembled our first annual Twitter list of Education Justice Superstars, individuals who are helping to expand the education conversation online. They’re leading the way, pushing racial and gender equity, fair funding, community schools, grassroots organizing and other crucial issues to the fore. So while you're sitting back after a plate full of turkey tomorrow, don't forget to add these superstars to your feed:
Schott wants to be clear and transparent about our institutional values that undergird all of our evaluation efforts. We welcome feedback from our grantees and our philanthropic partners. Email with questions or comments. Strengthening the education justice movement is at the center of our evaluation efforts. We believe that evaluation must first and foremost be responsive to the education justice movement on the ground, particularly to the work of our grantee partners and allied organizations. We trust these partners to identify evaluation priorities that are of immediate use in their work. Schott’s role as a funder is not to control the production of knowledge by dictating the kinds of information that matter — through grant applications and final reports — at the detriment of grassroots learning, leadership cultivation, organizational capacity, and growth. Rather, our role is to facilitate a culture of shared documentation, learning, and reflection that informs grassroots organizing efforts and education policy solutions through the lens of race, class, and gender justice.


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