Quality public education for all is a centerpiece of the American promise and an aspiration to which generations have worked to fulfill. During Reconstruction in the 1860s and 1870s, one of the very first things Black policymakers in the South did once elected was to institute universal, compulsory public education for all children, regardless of race or wealth. The subsequent campaigns of terror that undid much of Reconstruction's achievements and inaugurated Jim Crow across the South segregated those schools, creating two separate and unequal systems of education.
Do your schools provide enough resources to students in your community? Do you ever wonder why some schools have more resources than others? How does funding in your school district work?
According to a 2015 bipartisan Foundation Budget Review Commission Report, Massachusetts schools are underfunded by $1 billion and $2 billion! So what is being done to solve this education crisis?
Black and Brown students are demanding that their school districts end the school-to-prison pipeline and invest in solutions that create a true sense of safety, dignity and opportunity for learning. They are advocating for schools that are sufficiently resourced, affirming of their identities, provide culturally responsive social and emotional learning, and offer mental health supports to students who need them. Students are also calling on school officials to decriminalize their learning environments from racially unjust policies and practices — including the removal of police from our schools.
Culturally responsive education has been shown to increase student engagement, improve student self-perception, and increase student achievement and graduation rates: but it won’t be handed to us. We have to organize and fight for it.
What if we used wealth to heal, not harm? What if money was spent trying out concepts that challenge or shatter the structures and systems that have created inequity and disparity?
Please join us for a lively conversation about how foundations can lead with racial equity and better serve the needs of communities of color. Speakers include Chicago-based funders Megan Bang (Spencer Foundation) Bruce Boyd (Arabella Advisors), and Angelique Power (Field Foundation).
The new book Lift Us Up, Don't Push Us Out! features voices from the frontlines of a growing movement for educational justice across the United States. Organizers and activists recount their journeys to movement building, lift up victories and successes, and offer practical organizing strategies and community-based alternatives to traditional education reform and privatization schemes.
The last few decades of disinvestment and privatization have devastated public schools across the country, especially those in poor and distressed neighborhoods and communities of color. But we shouldn’t simply try to roll back the clock: long before the present crisis many schools were already failing the children who needed an opportunity to learn the most.
Out of that failure a growing movement of parents, youth, educators and community advocates are charting a better path forward: community schools. The community schools model holds at its core both research-proven methods and hard-won local insight from community members about what is most needed locally, which is what makes it a powerful evidence-based equity strategy!
Schott Foundation President & CEO Dr. John H. Jackson talks about the importance of love and happiness as we work give students the opportunities they need.