OTL Campaign Newsletter 
January 31, 2013

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Watch Zakiyah Ansari on MHP

AQE's Zakiyah Ansari Talks School Closures on the Melissa Harris-Perry Show!


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NY Opportunity to Learn Summit

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

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Wellesley Centers for Women

Screening of "It's Our Time:
The Empathy Gap for Girls of Color"
Monday, Feb. 11th in Wellesley, MA
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Journey for Justice
Don't Close Schools, Invest in Them!
Education organizers and advocates from 18 cities across the country made a "Journey for Justice" to the nation's capitol this week to make their case in person against school closures. They testified at a hearing before the US Department of Education and even met with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan! The DOE's policies that favor closing underperforming schools rather than investing in improving them is doing irreparable harm is doing irreparable harm to students by disrupting their communities and disproportionately impacting schools that serve majority Black and Latino students. Read more>

Gov. Patrick Deval
"Opportunity Is Too Important to Leave to Chance"
In his State of the State Address, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is calling for universal pre-K and a historic investment in the state's early learning programs. The governor is proposing a $1 billion dollar education investment package over the next four years – with almost $350 million going towards early childhood care and education – paid for by an increase in the state income tax. Read more>

AR OTL: Policymakers Should Stay the Equity Course
Over 200 people attended a press conference this week held by the Arkansas Opportunity to Learn Campaign and other education groups from across the state. AR OTL and the groups voiced their opposition to policies that would lead to an unaccountable expansion of the state's charter school network and undermine the principles of equity and adequacy that have guided the state's progress in public education over the past decade. Read more>

Derrick Johnson and Gina Womack
Don't Get Tough With School Discipline, Get Smart
"Get tough" school discipline policies aren't doing anything to make schools safer. In fact, they're creating a school-to-prison pipeline and exacerbating the school pushout crisis that is curtailing access to educational opportunities for students of color and students with disabilities. In a powerful op-ed, Derrick Johnson, President of the Mississippi State Conference NAACP, and Gina Womack, Executive Director of Families and Friends of Louisiana's Incarcerated Children, write that what we need instead is to "get smart" with school discipline policies and implement practices that keep students in the classroom. Read more>

Raising the Stakes
Raising the Stakes: Investing in NY Community Schools
New York City's Community School District 16 (CSD16), in the heart of Central Brooklyn, is the center of a bold new approach to grassroots, community-based reform. A new report from the Brooklyn Community Foundation, Brooklyn Movement Center and the Black Male Donor Collaborative lays out a blueprint for collaboration between school leadership, community stakeholders and philanthropic partners to support local schools and ensure access to educational opportunities for all students. Read more>

Handcuffs On Success
Handcuffs On Success: Mississippi's Discipline Crisis
Meridian, MS, has been in the news often over the past several months for it's horrendous school-to-prison pipeline. But the sad reality is that the injustices committed there – the harsh punishments levied for minor offenses, the absurd amount of police involvement in school discipline, and the denial of students' right to due process – are happening across the state. A new report from OTL allies at the Mississippi NAACP, the ACLU, and the Advancement Project reveals that "Mississippi is mired in an extreme school discipline crisis," one that disproportionately hurts students of color and students with disabilities. Read more>

Through the Looking Glass – The WI State of the State
Have you ever felt that you fell through the looking glass hand-in-hand with Alice to a place where up is down, north is really south, and wrong is actually right? If you watched Governor Scott Walker’s State of the State message, you might very well have felt you were in Wonderland where everything you know in your heart of hearts is wrong for kids and public schools was talked about as a viable education reform strategy. Read more>


Greatness By Design
Greatness by Design: Supporting Outstanding Teachers
Need a blueprint for recruiting, developing and retaining high quality teachers in your state? Look no further than this report from CA State Superintendent Tom Torlakson's Task Force on Educator Excellence. Drawing on the expertise of educators and thought leaders like Linda Darling-Hammond, the report lays out precisely how states should invest in their teachers and their schools to ensure that every student has access to well-prepared and effective teachers. Read more>

  • Justice is Fair Funding: CA Governor Jerry Brown has made education equity a priority this year with an increased education budget and a proposed weighted funding formula that focuses more funds toward the low-income districts that need it most. "Equal treatment for children in unequal situations is not justice," he said in his State of the State Address.  Read more>

  • AR State Supreme Court Won't Re-Hear Fair Funding Case: Despite the statewide outcry over a recent Supreme Court ruling that endangers the state's fair funding system, the Court denied a rehearing request, putting the onus for change once again on policymakers and advocates to fix a system they have spent decades fighting for. 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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