Ensuring that students are reading at grade level by the third grade is a crucial milestone for assuring their long term academic success, because third grade is when most students transition from "learning to read" to "reading to learn." AR Governor Mike Beebe declared Aug. 12-16 Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Week, and the campaign is highlighting community solutions and programs that help young students, families and communities emphasize reading.
Padres y Jovenes Unidos, a Denver-based OTL ally, successfully pushed for legislation limiting the role of police in schools. The group was featured in a video series by the Public Interest Projects' Just and Fair Schools Fund, which profiles groups across the country who are making real headway in the fight to end harsh discipline policies and the school-to-prison pipeline.
Growing Fairness is an upcoming documentary film, workshop series, and online toolkit resource for school communities to use as they begin the project of implementing restorative justice in classrooms. It tells the story of school climate, alternatives to punitive discipline, and the real impact of zero-tolerance on young people and school communities in New York and Oakland. The film and resources were created by Teachers Unite, one of the original members of the Dignity in Schools Campaign, and will be available in full starting September 2013.
In this video from the Advancement Project, students talk abou thow harsh, zero-tolerance discipline policies are criminalizing them and pushing them out of school. The video was released ahead of the Advancement Project's national convening in Washington, D.C., on July 11-13th.
Next year 23 schools in Philadelphia will be closed, and schools that remain open will be receiving hundreds of new students relocated from closed schools. At schools like South Philadelphia High School students are taking the lead to make sure the transition is as smooth as possible. Members of the school's chapter of the Philadelphia Student Union created "The Big Listen" - listening sessions for their classmates concerns to be heard.
Small class size isn't about protecting teachers' jobs or making their work easier -- it's about providing every student with quality attention in the classroom. Steve Zimmer, Board Member of the Los Angeles Unified School District and a former teacher, asks why we tolerate or dismiss crowded public school classrooms when charters and private schools use small class sizes as a selling point?
Members of Chicago Students Organizing to Save Our Schools speak out against school closures and education budget cuts at a Board of Education meeting – and are kicked out for speaking truth to power.
Zakiyah Ansari, a parent organizers with the NY-based Alliance for Quality Education, discusses the importance of engaging parents, students, teachers and community members in the education reform process. Current policies, which focus on high-stakes testing and accountability, overlook the needs of struggling students and under-resourced schools. Advocates and community organizers across the country, particularly students, are fighting back and demanding that their voices be heard as part of a growing national movement for change.
How do you explain the opportunity gap to someone who isn't familiar with the education debate? Just show them this new video from the OTL Campaign! "A Special Message to Grown Ups, Love Kids" is a video introduction to the OTL Campaign that we developed with the help of the phenomenal video production studio SoulPancake. The video provides a simple explanation of why all kids deserve the same resources and opportunities to learn.
In 2006, the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) won a major fair funding lawsuit against the State of New York, and policymakers promised to institute a more equitable school funding system. Though the state has since walked back that promise due to the recession and years of cuts to the education budget, it's worth understanding just how CFE made it's successful case. Michael Rebell, one of the lawyers on the CFE case, explains how his team argued that for all students to meet state standards, the state must commit to providing them with equitable funding. Anything less was a violation of the state's constitutional obligation to provide students with "a sound, basic education."