National Opportunity to Learn Network

Schott’s Opportunity to Learn Network (OTL) unites a nationwide coalition of Schott grantees and allied organizations working to secure a high quality public education for all students.

By creating a space to highlight and celebrate grassroots organizing, share success stories and provide resources, OTL strives to create real and substantial change in our public education system. OTL advocates for supports­-based education reform, one that provides all students with access to crucial resources and opportunities such as early education, wraparound supports, fair school discipline, well­-supported teachers, and equitable school funding. To support our network of advocates and organizers, OTL provides regular updates on current grantee campaigns, publishes policy guides, infographics and other resources, and hosts summits and other network building events, all of which can be found below.

The Latest from the OTL Network

The latest from the Schott Foundation and our allies.
Bishop Dr. William Barber’s homily at the Inaugural Prayer Service this morning was a powerful call to “break the chains of injustice,” to move America toward a Third Reconstruction. He proclaimed love is our salvation — love that must be proven in action. We rejoice in his inspiring words. And in his fierce movement-building leadership, grounded in love, of Repairers of the Breach and the Poor People’s Campaign.
Fueling the frontlines of social progress with philanthropic support is central to Schott’s strategy to advance racial justice in public education. In a year like no other, Schott’s 2020 grantmaking was more nimble, diverse, and participatory than ever before. Almost $2 million in philanthropic support went to the education justice movement: to continue our work with longstanding partners, to supply quickly-needed resources to mutual aid groups in the wake of COVID-19, and to seize the movement moment to help advocates win police-free schools. In addition to our direct grantmaking support, Schott staff supported our community partners in obtaining an additional $380,000 in support from other foundations.
2020 was a year of quarantines and lockdowns, historic elections and popular rebellions. But amid the difficulties, communities and advocates achieved some real wins. Here are eight policy victories from last year that we at Schott are carrying with us as inspiration for the struggles ahead.
The violent attack on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6, 2021 was a stark reminder of America’s historic tensions and struggles. The storming of the Capitol came amid a Pro-Trump protest, by a predominantly white and male group of domestic terrorists. Their white privilege assured they could go beyond the police barriers of perimeter and enter the Capitol Building. In the end, many people were injured and five killed, including a Capitol police officer.
Congratulations on your nomination to be U.S. education secretary, Miguel Cardona. You are poised to take this position at a critical point in American history. As you know well, for generations we have lived through a system of separate and unequal education. COVID-19 has greatly exacerbated the learning loss disparities experienced by children of color. Now, with Congress failing to deliver to schools, educators, students and parents the much needed learning and PPE resources, and states cutting their 2021 budgets, things are primed to get a lot worse.
As the year ends, we are looking back at the many challenges and the fierce organizing — and equally fierce love — that our partners brought to meet them.
The story of America is the power of common people coming together around a vision of opportunity, democracy, and a better way of life for generations to come. However, from our earliest beginnings, that vision was executed with instruments of brutal and legalized oppression, heavily fueled by racial bias, which for centuries has metastasized through every system of American life: healthcare, education, employment, policing, faith, technology, and infrastructure.
A coalition of grassroots advocacy groups, including Girls for Gender Equity and the Urban Youth Collaborative, are pressing the New York State Education Department to issue statewide guidance for a moratorium on suspensions for the remainder of the school year.
It’s that time of the year again... the Schott Foundation’s third annual list of 10 Education Justice Superstars to follow on social media! Spice up your feed with knowledge and inspiration from these influential and energized advocates. They’re leading the way, pushing racial and gender equity, fair funding, community schools, grassroots organizing and other crucial issues to the fore. Be sure to give them a follow!
The Journey for Justice Alliance (J4J), a grassroots education justice organization with dozens of local chapters across the country, highlighted candidate Joe Biden’s pledge to be “the best friend of public education” as they urged the President-Elect to choose a Secretary of Education committed to education justice. J4J’s open letter emphasizes the importance of the moment to undo the damage caused by years of disinvestment and privatization and to enact a positive vision of equity and education justice. Like J4J, Schott has been clear that the next Department of Education should center community voices and work to undo the effects of resource inequity and structural racism on our public education system.