OTL Campaign Newsletter 
January 17, 2013

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It's Our Time
It's Our Time!
MA Youth Advocates Featured in Film About Opportunity to Learn for Girls of Color


In response to the recent StudentsFirst "report", we've produced a badge that every advocate can use to show that we all want opportunity, not privatization.
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NY Opportunity to Learn Summit

Monday, Feb. 11th, 2013
New York State Museum, Albany, NY

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Michelle Rhee
5 Ways the StudentsFirst Report Puts Students Last
Michelle Rhee's pro-privatization lobbying group StudentsFirst recently released a 50-state report card that left us appalled. Rather than measure states based on students' well-being or achievement, the "report" assigned states a letter grade based on their adherence to StudentsFirst policies like high-stakes testing, value-added measures in teacher evaluations, merit pay, and support for charter schools. Here are 5 reasons why this State Report Card is a recipe for failure. Read more>

Elaine Weiss & Cassie Schwerner
Early Childhood Ed Is Bipartisan, Fiscally Smart & Creates Jobs
Expanding access to early childhood care and education is one of the most staring-you-in-the-face-obvious best investments our society could make in education reform. In an open letter to President Obama Elaine Weiss, the National Coordinator for the Broader, Bolder Approach to Education, and Cassie Schwerner, Senior VP at the Schott Foundation for Public Education, detail the all-around benefits of investing in and expanding access to ECE. It secures our childrens' as well as our nation's future. Read more>

Lori Bezahler
As National Momentum Grows, Advocates' Voices Ring Out on Capitol Hill
By Lori Bezahler, President, Edward W. Hazen Founation
I first heard the phrase "school-to-prison pipeline" twelve years ago in a meeting with a small group of Mississippi parents. Today, the movement to end school pushout has grown so strong that hundreds of advocates and organizers flocked to the first-ever U.S. Senate public hearing on the school-to-prison pipeline in December. The hearing alone was not the victory these advocates and organizer seek, but it was an important win on the road to implementing policies that keep students in school and learning, not lost in a maze of suspensions, expulsions, and court referrals.
Read more>

AR Opportunity to Learn Summit
AR OTL Summit & Student Essay Contest Winners!
The Arkansas Opportunity to Learn Summit was a fantastic weekend of trainings, workshops and networking for over 200 education organizers and advocates. A big thank you to everyone who turned out! And for those of you who couldn't join, read on for a recap of the summit and pictures! Read the winning essays from the student essay contest, "Why an Opportunity to Learn Is Important to Me." Read more>

CA Gov. Brown
OTL Applauds CA Gov. Brown's Leadership on Fair Funding
As other states have made cuts in education budgets that have had disastrous impacts on children and schools, California's governor is emerging as a champion of public education – and of equitable funding for the state's poorest districts. His proposed budget for 2013-2014 includes a sizable increase in state funding for education, and the governor is pushing for a weighted funding formula with more going to schools serving low-income students. Read more>

MA ECE Funding
MA ECE Funding Decreased $175 Million Over Decade
Just as Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick unveiled a new education spending plan that calls for increased investment in and universal access to high-quality early childhood care and education, our allies at the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center released a report on the decline in spending on ECE in the state over the past decade. Their report makes clear that while the governor deserves commendation for his new focus on ECE, there is a lot of ground to make up for when it comes to ensuring our youngest children enter school ready to succeed. Read more>

Education Week: Code of Conduct
Ed Week Features PA Allies in Rise & Fall of Zero-Tolerance
Education Week devoted a special section of its 2013 annual report to school discipline, chronicling the injustices and ineffectiveness of zero-tolerance and its connection to the school-to-prison pipeline, and highlighting the rising number of advocates and organizers trying to reform harsh discipline policies. The report features some of our youth allies in Pennsylvania as well as our Solutions Not Suspensions initiative! Read more>


State Policy Guide
Stopping Out-of-School Suspensions: State Policy Guide
Need some help developing or advocating for policies in your state to tackle school pushout and end the school-to-prison pipeline? Then look no further than this newly released state policy guide from the Opportunity to Learn Campaign! The guide provides advocates and policymakers with recommendations for ending the ineffective and discriminatory practice of out-of-school suspensions, which contribute to our national pushout crisis. The guide also provides a summary of the significant action and legislative proposals that are already underway in states to address this crisis. Read more>

  • How to Get Nowhere Fast: Jeff Bryant, Associate Fellow at Campaign for America's Future, describes the StudentsFirst report as "the ultimate roadmap to nowhere" because it focuses too much on education outputs while neglecting crucial inputs like money, materials, personnel, and training. For insight into the ills of our education system, Bryant turns to economist Paul Krugman "who observed this week that the 'big fail' in economic policy has not been due to a dearth of well-known remedies but, rather, a continuous emphasis on the wrong ones." Read more>

  •  Gifted and Talented and Education Redlining in NYC: Gifted and talented classrooms are predominantly full of White students, suggesting that students of color are being systematically locked out of the better-resourced learning opportunities, what the OTL Campaign calls "education redlining." Read more>

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National Opportunity to Learn Campaign
675 Massachusetts Avenue, 8th Floor | Cambridge, MA 02139
www.otlcampaign.org | info@otlcampaign.org | 617-876-7700

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