On behalf of the Schott Foundation for Public Education, I would like to take this moment to congratulate Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum for being selected as the Democratic nominee for governor of the state of Florida. The media called it an upset victory, and certainly the results defied the experts and pundits. But I’ve known Andrew Gillum for close to two decades, as a friend, staunch advocate for an opportunity to learn for all students and ultimately as a colleague as a member of the Schott Foundation Board of Directors. Defying the odds is what Andrew does. Since his first election to the Tallahassee City Commission as a student, its youngest ever member, continuing throughout his career as a public servant, he has brought indefatigable energy, deep thoughtfulness, a compelling vision and courage to every organizing endeavor. Organizing — bringing people together, encouraging them to believe in themselves and what they can achieve together. Florida’s primary voters clearly saw these qualities in Andrew when they propelled him to victory.
I recently had the honor of attending the premiere of Personal Statement, a film by Julie Dressner and co-directed by Edwin Martinez that follows three high school seniors who were trained to support their peers through the college application process — while applying to college themselves. Listening to the film’s protagonists speak about the power of a youth-led model to address inequity in college access, I could not help but think about all of the youth organizers from the Urban Youth Collaborative. Since 2005, UYC has been fighting to develop and get funding for a youth-led college access model as a part of their College Pathways campaign. More than 13 years ago, those youth organizers explained their motivations:
In writing my forthcoming book Decolonizing Wealth, I had the honor and the pleasure of interviewing dozens of leaders from foundations, community organizations, and financial institutions. I asked them to speak candidly about the dynamics of race and power that they encounter in their work with money, and I asked them to share ideas for how we could decolonize wealth. From the hours and hours of audio recordings, and pages and pages of transcriptions, only a few snippets could be included in the book. So I’m happy to share some of the outtakes here.
It's with joy and sadness that I announce that our friend, colleague and partner Dr. Cassie Schwerner has been selected to be the next Executive Director of the Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility in New York City.
On Thursday, August 2, Jeff Bryant of the Education Opportunity Network moderated a Netroots Nation panel on education privatization in New Orleans, and the lessons we can learn from the struggle of New Orleans residents to reclaim their public schools.
Our new office has a wonderful view of the Boston skyline, and it’s close to some of our grantee and philanthropic partners. We hope you’ll visit!
We must continue to stand with our brothers and sisters from other nations that are fighting for their human rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We also have an opportunity to use this moment and the power of our collective passion to fight against the family separation that has become common place in America over the past several decades, often unnoticed and without the same passion and resistance. Any time we lock up adults or children for nonviolent crimes, instead of showing compassion for their situation and a productive path forward, we are separating families. Instead, we need to adopt Loving Systems. Systems that take individual circumstances into consideration and create access to supports and rehabilitation that keep families together and enable them to thrive.
More than a hundred people attended the Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance’s (MEJA) first statewide convening in late June. Held in central Massachusetts, organizers and representatives from community, parent, youth, and educator groups from across the commonwealth gathered for a day of strategizing, network-building and inspiration to help build a stronger network to fight for public education.
Schott has been examining the adoption of whole-child supports in schools and communities across the country as part of our newly launched Healthy Living and Learning Initiative. Schott's SVP, Cassie Schwerner, was invited to Cincinnati to see how whole-child approaches have been adopted to provide students with health services, early learning opportunities and other needs that holistically support their learning and development. While there’s an incredible amount of public and private programs and initiatives taking shape in the city, there were three programs that really stood out as the epitome of healthy living and learning.
Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, the one thing most Americans can agree with is that the system is not working for everyone.
Our education system is only providing opportunities for success to a portion of our children. Healthcare is largely unaffordable and inaccessible. Corporations have more rights than the people employed there and getting fair pay and personal leave is a luxury afforded only to the most elite. And our financial systems reinforce the inequities of all these other systems, pushing low and middle-income individuals into debt and eviscerating their opportunity to build wealth across generations.
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