OTL Campaign Newsletter 
February 21, 2013

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Will You Fund Our Schools?

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Applied Research Center Webinar

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for a free racial justice training webinar!
Wednesday, Feb. 27th

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Parade for Public Education

Tuesday, March 5th
Begins at the Albany State Armory
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For Each and Every Child
A Bold Call for Equity – Will Policymakers Answer?
This week, Congress’ Equity and Excellence Commission released a powerful report that decries our nation's lack of commitment to equity in education for all students. "For Each and Every Child: A Strategy for Education Equity and Excellence" is a nationwide call to action. But will policymakers act? Our nation is wracked by economic recession, concentrated poverty and deep and persistent inequities. We are a nation at risk without an equity agenda and reforms that give schools, teachers and students the supports they need to succeed. Read more>

Institute for America's Future
The Inconvenient Truth of Education "Reform"
By Jeff Bryant, Education Opportunity Network
Recent events have revealed how market-driven education policies, deceivingly labeled as “reform,” are revealing their truly destructive effects on the streets and in the corridors of government. From the streets, we heard from civil rights and social justice activists about the disastrous results of school turnaround policies. From the corridors of government, we were presented with irrefutable evidence that "reform" leaders are influencing policymaking to benefit corporate interests rather than students, parents and schools. Read more>
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State of the Union
Partners in Progress: Make ECE a Fundamental Right
In this year’s State of the Union Address, thematically focused on strengthening the economy, President Obama rightfully connected the country’s economic growth with the need to meet the challenge of equity and long-term investments in our education systems, specifically early education. We strongly agree with the President that ensuring access to high quality early childhood education for ALL students, and closing the opportunity gap for poor children and children of color, is essential for our economy as well as our democracy. Read more>

Keeping Kids in Class
Keeping Kids in Class: AR School Discipline Report
Black students in Arkansas schools are more likely to be suspended and receive corporal punishment than their white counterparts, according to this comprehensive state-level analysis from Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families (AACF), a member of the AR OTL Campaign. School disciplinary policies that disproportionately keep students of color out of school reduce their opportunities to learn and increase gaps in educational achievement. As this report shows, Arkansas schools rely far too often on disciplinary approaches that push students down the school-to-prison pipeline. Read more>

NY OTL Conference
NY Allies Convene in Albany for OTL Policy Conference
OTL allies from across New York traveled to Albany last week for a conference on educational opportunity. "Averting Educational Crisis: Successful Strategies for NY" focused on how to implement policies that would expand opportunity, increase access to high quality early childhood education, and reform school discipline to keep students in the classroom rather than barring them from school. Read more>

Mass Budget and Policy
You'll Feel That Tax Cut in the Morning...
Changes in tax policy are essential to ensuring our schools and teachers have the necessary resources to give every student a high-quality opportunity to learn. For a case in point, check out this recent op-ed in the Boston Globe from OTL ally Noah Berger, President of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. Read more>

Free OTL Webinar!
Free OTL Webinar on Racial Justice on February 27th!
On February 27th, the Opportunity to Learn Campaign will be hosting a webinar on racial justice with the Applied Research Center, an OTL ally. The webinar will provide advocates and organizers with valuable tools for framing and combating racial disparities in our nation's education system, including Racial Equity Impact Assessments (REIAs), a key tool for preventing institutional racism and remedying long-standing inequities. Seats are limited, so sign up today! Read more>

Campaign for our Communities
MA Allies Call for Community and Ed Investments
A number of OTL allies in Massachusetts – including youth organizers from the Boston Student Advisory Council and the Boston-Area Youth Organizing Project – are helping build grassroots pressure for revenue building initiatives and investments in communities and education. The movement is particularly exciting following MA Governor Deval Patrick's recent call for a $1 billion investment in the state's education system. Read more>

Build Initiative
Ensuring Early Childhood Equity in the South
By Gerrit Westervelt, Executive Director, BUILD Initiative
The year 2011 was the first in which more infants of color were born than White, non-Latino infants. That diversity will only continue to grow, so it is increasingly urgent that we address the disparities in access to high quality educational resources and opportunities that children of color and children living in poverty face. A good first step is creating early childhood systems that are responsive to the needs of all children.
Read more>

Happy Valentine's Day!
WI Gov.'s K-12 Budget Starves Schools
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has unveiled a funding proposal for K-12 public education that will weaken schools and diminish opportunities for students. After years of devastating cuts to the education budget, general aid will be increased by only $129.2 million – hardly making a dent in the $1 billion in cut over the last two budgets alone. Read more>


Equity Checklist
Who's for Equity for Kids and Who's Just Kidding?
This "Equity Checklist" distills the most important policy recommendations put forward by Congress' Equity and Excellence Commission in their newly released report, "For Each and Every Child: A Strategy for Education Equity and Excellence." The policies, supported by advocates and organizers across the country, are a blueprint of evidence-based proposals for ensuring equity and opportunity for every single student. Read it. Share it. Use it. Together we can ensure that every child has access to a fair and substantive opportunity to learn! Read more>

  • The Secret to Fixing Bad Schools: Union City, NJ, is a poor community with high unemployment where three-quarters of students live in homes where Spanish is the primary language. Yet the city, once home to failing schools, has become a poster child for supports-based education reform. With investments in high quality pre-K, a focus on deeper learning and parent engagement, the community now boasts a graduation rate almost 10 points higher than the national average. Read more>

  • FL's School-to-Prison Pipeline in Largest in Nation: Last year, 12,000 students were arrested 13,870 times in Florida public schools, despite recognition from state Department of Juvenile Justice officials that "the vast majority of children being arrested in schools are not committing criminal acts."  Read more>

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