The OTL Campaign Blog

Wednesday September 26th, 2012

Join the Opportunity to Learn Campaign (along with members of the Dignity in Schools Campaign, our partner in the Solutions Not Suspensions initiative) for a 60-minute webinar on October 3rd to learn how you can go from outrage over harsh school discipline polices to movement building! This webinar will examine how student organizers in Philadelphia were able to collect necessary data, build their coalition, and win a decisive victory bringing about alternatives to out-of-school suspensions.

Wednesday September 19th, 2012

The Urgency of Now: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males finds that almost half of Black and Latino males do not graduate high school in four years.  Without a policy framework that creates opportunity for all students, strengthens supports for the teaching profession and strikes the right balance between support-based reforms and standards-driven reforms, the U.S. will become increasingly unequal and less competitive in the global economy. Where does your state rank? Visit to learn more!

Wednesday September 19th, 2012

Students, parents, teachers and other education advocates across the nation are fed up with school closures. And they're taking their protest to Washington, D.C this week! As Andre Dunbar, a student activist from the Philadelphia Student Union explains in a guest post on Anthony Cody's Education Week blog, "Journey for Justice" will take place on Thursday, September 20th. Buses will be arriving from Atlanta (GA), Boston (MA), Baltimore (MD), Chicago (IL), Cleveland (OH), Detroit (MI), Europa (MS), Hartford (CT), Kansas City (MO), Los Angeles (CA), New Orleans (LA), Newark (NJ), New York City (NY), Oakland (CA), Philadelphia (PA), and Wichita (KS), and advocates will rally at the U.S. Department of Education.

Tuesday September 18th, 2012

Grassroots advocates working to reform school discipline are on a roll! The latest victory comes from the Recovery School Districts in New Orleans, which will no longer suspend students for minor misbehaviors (like uniform violations) thanks to the organizing efforts of groups like Families and Friends of Louisiana's Incarcerated Children (FFLIC), a member of the Dignity in Schools Campaign, and other allies. New Orleans joins Philadelphia and New York City in implementing new discipline policies that seek to keep students in the classroom rather than pushing them out of school.

Tuesday September 18th, 2012

As part of NBC's annual Education Nation event in New York City, Melissa Harris-Perry is hosting the Student Town Hall on Sunday, September 23rd. And she wants to hear from students and youth organizers across the country about how they would improve their schools! We know there are some fantastic young organizers involved in the OTL Campaign and our allied organizations, so we wanted to tip you off about this great opportunity to get your voice in the national media. Just upload or record a short YouTube video talking about how you would fix America's schools so that all students have a fair and substantive opportunity to learn. Submit yours today, we can't wait to watch them!

Monday September 17th, 2012

For the second year in a row, the Boston Parent Organizing Network (BPON) held a successful Youth Summer Initiative, training a new group of students to be advocates for education in their local communities. BPON, an OTL ally, works to organize parents and families who are marginalized (whether by race, class, language, disability or immigration status) to ensure quality educational opportunities for all students. During the Youth Summer Initiative, students and youth organizers, ages 13-18, received training on issues like the Boston Public Schools Code of Conduct, peer leadership and grassroots organizers.

Friday September 14th, 2012

Along with the teachers flooding the streets of Chicago to defend students' access to quality educational opportunities are students and OTL allies from Voice of Youth in Chicago Education. They've been protesting and rallying all week, and have been updating their Facebook page with some spectacular pictures, including an entire album from Day 1 of the Teachers' strike on Monday.

Jitu Brown, Education Organizer, Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO)
Friday September 14th, 2012

As a public school parent, a community organizer and a proud resident of Chicago, I feel it important to set the record straight by telling you why many like-minded Chicagoans like me are supporting the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU). You need to know the real reasons why we choose to walk the line.

Monday September 10th, 2012

As the new school year gets underway, school districts in 26 states will have less funding to work with this year. According to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 26 states have cut per-pupil education spending from last year's spending levels, making it more difficult for already cash-strapped districts across the country to provide the resources and opportunities their students deserve. The only silver lining is that fewer states are cutting education budgets this year than did last year.

Steve Strieker, Social Studies Teacher, Janesville School District
Friday September 7th, 2012

If teachers and administrators are truly interested in educating every child, then we need to embrace this truth: Communities with dramatically less poverty will have dramatically reformed school systems. Yes, we keep teaching. Yes, we keep believing in our students. Yes, we can continue to improve our instructional practices. However, above all, we must become a unified voice for reducing childhood poverty.

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