Fair and Just School Resources
In the United States public schools are funded through a mix of local, state and federal funding. For the most part, schools serving students of color and students from low-income communities have less funding per student than schools in wealthier neighborhoods. These resource disparities perpetuate opportunity gaps in schools and in our broader society. No child’s educational opportunities should be limited because of their zip code. The Schott Foundation is dedicated to ensuring that every student has access to fair and just school resources.
The Latest on Fair & Just School Resources
Despite the research showing that early learning and after-school programs help close the achievement gap by ensuring children are prepared to start school and continue to achieve once they're there, this report from NY OTL ally Campaign for Children shows how funding instability for these programs could lead to their collapse. Thousands of students from low-income families stand to lose these vital opportunities that represent a key resource in a support-based education reform model.
This fantasic video from OTL ally Alliance for Quality Education asks the very simple question: Will you fund our schools?
Racial Equity Impact Assessments (REIAs) are a systematic examination of how different racial and ethnic groups will likely be affected by a proposed action or decision. REIAs are a vital tool for preventing institutional racism and for identifying new options to remedy long-standing inequities. Communities across the country from Seattle to St. Paul to Connecticut have begun to use REIAs in their policymaking. Learn how you can implement them in your own community with this helpful toolkit from the Applied Research Center, an OTL ally!
A new report from Ohio Communities United (OCU) is a perfect snapshot of what effective parent and community engagement looks like in public education reform. The report, "Speaking Out of School," came about following a series of "listening circles" held in Cleveland, which gathered input from parents and community members about the policies and practices they would like to see implemented in their schools and in which they want to be involved. Highlighted throughout the report are the powerful, personal stories of individual parents as well as features on programs across the country that have successfully engaged parents and community members to create stronger public schools.
This must-watch video is a touching short film that elevates the voices of those at the center of America's education crisis – namely, the parents, teachers and students who must bear the brunt of today's standards-based reform agenda (which includes standardize testing, school closures, merit pay, competitive grants, inequitable funding, etc.) without the supports they need meet those standards or provide every student with a fair and substantive opportunity to learn.
Check out this amazing video chronicling Journey for Justice, a protest event held in Washington, D.C. in September! Advocates from across the country (including several OTL allies) traveled to the nation's capital to rally and march against school closures, which disproportionately affect low-income communities and communities of color. Before being given the axe, these schools are often set up to fail: they're chronically underfunded and unable to provide the types of resources and opportunities students need to succeed. As the advocates in the video say, "Justice is equitable funding for all our schools."
We've all heard about the long-term benefits on early childhood education and services. Better access to quality early opportunities increases graduation rates, saves communities money on remediation or criminal justice, and increases the tax base. But how about the short-term? Short-term benefits are easier to build public and, crucially, political will around. "Savings Now, Savings Later" is an incredibly useful two-page brief from ReadyNation that outlines all the benefits of early childhood education and services in easy-to-understand, statistics-filled talking points. From parent mentoring programs to basic health care services to quality pre-k programs, the evidence is clear: access to these programs creates healthier and stronger children, families and communities.