OTL Campaign Newsletter 
March 6, 2013
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Michael Fullen Keynote

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OTL HIGHLIGHTS

Terry Keleher and Jermaine Toney Racial Justice Webinar - Recap, Resources & Video!
Thanks to all those who joined us for an exciting webinar last week with Terry Keleher and Jermaine Toney from the Applied Research Center!  In case you couldn't make it, here's a recap of what we discussed, tools for you to use in your advocacy and organizing work, and a video of the webinar to share! Not to be missed is the Racial Equity Impact Assessment tool (see below in Resources) that helps organizers, advocates and policymakers identify potential disparities caused by a proposed policy. Read more>

Congressman Honda and Linda Darling-Hammond
We Need Equity for Students & Supports for Teachers
Following the release of the Equity and Excellence Commission's seminal report on the lack of equity and opportunity in our schools, OTL ally Linda Darling-Hammond and Congressman Michael Honda (CA) published a column in the Washington Post echoing the report's call for policies that increase access to key opportunities and resources for every child and provide supports for recruiting, training and retaining high quality teachers. Read more>

Diane Ravitch in TX
Is High-Stakes Testing (Texas) Toast?
By Jeff Bryant, Education Opportunity Network
What happened last week in the Texas capital of Austin revealed a groundswell of resistance, from multiple political factions, against what has been heretofore defined as “education reform,” namely high-stakes testing and accountability systems. A rally brought thousands of people into the streets to hear education historian Diane Ravitch declare that Texas, the place where reform “madness” started, would be where “the vampire gets … a stake in its heart.”
Read more>

Confronting the Opportunity Gap
Confronting the Opportunity Gap in Education
Inequities between wealthy and low-income districts in New York has resulted in a gaping $8,601 per pupil spending gap. "Confronting the Opportunity Gap," a new report from the Alliance for Quality Education and the Public Policy and Education Fund, lays out how New York is a leader in educational inequity and how the state could go about reforming its education system to ensure access and opportunity for each and every student. Read more>

WI OTL
The Free Market Fairy vs. Supports-Based Reforms
By Steve Strieker, Wisconsin Teacher
Tying school funding to performance and making repeated allusions to the mythical Free Market Fairy don't constitute systemic, supports-based reform. That's a nonsensical proposal that presumes that staff in high-needs schools are failing because educators lack the motivation or know-how to help students succeed. Let's stop fooling ourselves and start providing students, teachers and schools with the resources and opportunities they need to succeed. Read more>

Megan Allen
"We Cannot Afford to Spend a Cent Less"
Megan Allen is a 5th grade teacher and the 2010 Florida Teacher of the Year. On February 21st, she testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Democratic Steering and Policy Committee and spoke passionately about the life-changing supports schools and teachers should be able to offer struggling students and about the need to safeguard those supports from budget cuts and the impact of the Sequester. Read more>

AR OTL Advocacy Day
AR OTL Holds Education Advocacy Day in Little Rock
On February 20th, over 200 members of the Arkansas OTL Campaign made their way to Little Rock for an Education Advocacy Day! Their goal: show their support for education reforms that provide every student with a fair and substantive opportunity to learn and highlight the progress the state has made in the past decade by implementing sound, research-based policies. Read more>

Children's Budget
Children's Budget Maps Investments in Kids
The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center's new Children's Budget is an expansive database of government services and programs for children and their families that impact their access to high quality educational opportunities. Covering everything from early childhood education, fair funding, expanded learning time, healthcare, affordable housing and juvenile justice, this database is a powerful tool worth replicating in other states, and it drives home the need for supports-based, not standards-based, education reform. Read more>

Resources

Racial Equity Impact Assessments
Racial Equity Impact Assessments
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 tool from the Applied Research Center! Read more>

IN THE NEWS
  • Parents Take Officials to Court for Lack of Transparency: Several New York City public school parents represented by the Campaign for Fiscal Equity filed a lawsuit against the city Department of Education for failing to provide local communities with a chance to give their input on key funding and spending proposals as required by the state's Contract for Excellence Law. Read more>
     
  • "Equal Opportunity" Is a National Myth: In a powerful New York Times column, economist Joseph Stiglitz writes that today "the most important reason for lack of equality of opportunity is education: both is quantity and quality." In order to make good on our national promise of opportunity for all, we need more and better early care and education, investments in wraparound academic, social and health supports for low-income and struggling students and increased access to higher education. Read more>

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National Opportunity to Learn Campaign
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