The OTL Campaign Blog

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.

Wednesday September 5th, 2012

Education redlining is damaging schools and students across the country, according to a report from the Center for American Progress. "Unequal Education: Federal Loophole Enables Lower Spending on Students of Color" reveals the direct and disturbing relationship between the racial composition of schools and how much those schools spend to educate their students: As Black student enrollment rises, instructional expenditures decline. The disparity in spending is the result of the "comparability loophole" in Title I funding, which allows school districts to look as though they're providing equal education opportunities when in reality they're concentrating inexperienced teachers in high-needs schools.

Tuesday September 4th, 2012

Thanks to the organizing efforts of students and advocates in Philadelphia, the School Reform Commission governing the Philadelphia school district has adopted a revised code of conduct that begins to rollback harsh school discipline policies. The new code gives principals more discretion in dealing with disciplinary issues and limits the number of infractions for which students can be suspended.

Tuesday September 4th, 2012

Imagine you're a parent from Jefferson Parish, LA. You care deeply about your child's education and want to attend events and parent-teacher conferences at the local public school. Unfortunately, the school district sends home notices about these events in English rather than Spanish, your primary language. If your son or daughter can't translate for you, how are you supposed to know where to go or who to meet with? How can you be an engaged parent when you lack access to the resources to be one? A federal complaint filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center says that the Jefferson Parish public school district is discriminating against its 7,700 Latino students by failing to provide the translation or interpretation services the students' parents need to stay involved.