The OTL Campaign Blog

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.

Wednesday September 5th, 2012

Two weeks ago the OTL Campaign joined with the Dignity in Schools Campaign to launch "Solutions Not Suspension: A call for a moratorium on out-of-school suspensions." The initiative is already turning heads in the education sector, racking up endorsements and grabbing the attention of both national and local media outlets. Check out some of the media hits the initiative has gathered so far, as well as video and photos from the "Solutions Not Suspensions" launch event in Los Angeles!

Wednesday September 5th, 2012

Similar to the OTL Campaign’s policy proposal for Personal Opportunity Plans, North Carolina has passed a law that requires schools to develop a customized Personal Education Plan (PEP) for every student considered to be at risk of academic failure—and provide proven educational strategies such as tutoring, mentoring, coaching, smaller classes, after-school instruction or summer school. See North Carolina Justice Center’s guidebook about the PEP law to support involvement and advocacy by NC parents.

Wednesday September 5th, 2012

In a victory for students, parents, teachers and advocates in New York City, the NYC Department of Education has announced a new school discipline code that limits the number of infractions for which students can be suspended as well as the how long they can be suspended. Credit for pushing the DOE to reform the code goes to a huge number of groups, including many OTL allies.

Wednesday September 5th, 2012

If you're confused by the intricacies of Massachusetts's state education funding system and in particular its "foundation budget," you're not alone. So why don't you sit back and let the folks at Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center demystify the whole process for you and explain how a two-decades-old law is denying low-income school districts the resources they need to adequately educated their students.

Wednesday September 5th, 2012

Great news for children in Arkansas! A new campaign is fighting to ensure that all students are reading proficiently in third grade by 2020. The Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, coordinated by the Winthrop Rockerfeller Foundation and supported by several OTL allies, is pushing for better access to early childhood education and summer programs, a reduction in chronic absenteeism and an increase in parent and community engagement.