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In California it costs $62,300 per year to imprison someone, but just $9,100 per year to teach a child. A new video from Californians for Safety and Justice challenges us to "do the math" when it comes to expanding the criminal justice system or investing in schools.

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This May marks the 60th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, but nationwide many students of color are still held back by an inequitable education system. In particularly, they are dispropotionately affected by the mass school closures that are taking place in cities across the country. On a recent episode of the Melissa Harris-Perry show, Judith Browne Dianis, Co-Director of the Advancement Project, spoke about the resegregation of our nation's schools and the Title IV compliants her organization helped file to protest school closures in New Orleans, Newark and Chicago.

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The first video in a three-part series, "Revival From the Roots: A Tour of Philly's Neighborhood Schools" follows Jerry Jordan, President of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, and Hellen Gym, parent and education advocate, as they hear firsthand from students, parents and teachers fighting to turn around public education from the bottom up.

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Students from Utica, NY, are organizing with OTL allies across the state to support their public schools and fight for fair school funding. Here's what they have to say!

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Parents, students and teachers across the country are fighting for equitable school resources, community solutions and an end to mass school closures. Don't miss this video from our grassroots ally Journey for Justice.

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On December 9, 2013, parents, students, teachers and community members from over 60 cities across the country participated in the National Day of Action to Reclaim the Promise of Public Education.

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Phil Agnew, Executive Director of the Dream Defenders, delivers the first State of the Youth Address, outlining the social justice priorities of millions of young voters and organizers.

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As schools have started to abandon ineffective, zero-tolerance discipline policies, students and teachers are showing how alternatives like restorative justice can foster strong, supportive school communities. This video from Oakland, CA, features one such alternative, a student-led circle, in action. This is what school discipline reform can–and should–look like.

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Stephanie Alvarado, a youth leader with Voices of Youth in Chicago Education and the Southwest Organizing Project, is one of six Latino/a students featured in a new PBS documentary about the dropout crisis and its effect on low-income students of color.

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Students from the Morris Campus Student Leadership Council (at Bronx International High School in NYC) came together to write and create this video to promote peer mediation at their school. The song is called "Talk It Out," and the video was featured during the Youth Speak Out session at the recent AFT Civil, Human and Women's Rights Conference in Los Angeles.

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At the 2013 OTL Organizing Summit in Los Angeles, Cheyanne Smith from Make the Road NY and Pecolia Manigo from the Parent Leadership Action Network practice telling their personal stories as part of a training with the New Organizing Institute on the Story of Self, Story of Us, and the Story of Now narrative structure. 

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In October, the OTL Campaign partnered with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), National Education Association and Communities for Public Education Reform to host the AFT's Civil, Human and Women's Rights Conference in Los Angeles. At the opening town hall on Oct. 4th, participants got fired up with this video chronicling the rising grassroots and labor movement to protect and support public education. 

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"Community schools" are a new model for public education focused on building community partnerships to ensure all students have access to the types of wraparound academic, social and health supports they need to succeed in school. This short animated video shows how Oakland Unified School District is transforming its schools to be community hubs offering integrated student supports. Check it out!

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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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?

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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."

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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to close 54 schools — closings that disproportionately affect low-income and Black students. Parents, teachers, and students are fighting back.

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The video tells the story of Adelanto, California where a well-funded, outside group "Parent Revolution" came to town and instead of working to improve the schools tricked parents with false promises, bitterly divided the community, and disrupted the education of young children.

"The video makes clear that that parent trigger laws, pending in 14 states, are not a magic wand that improves education -- there is no magic wand," said Roger Hickey of the Education Opportunity Network. "Schools need better resources, engaged parents, good teachers and a supportive community. What schools do not need is divisive campaigns that mislead parents and disappoints parents," he said.

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Dr. Michael Fullan provided the keynote speech at AQE's Opportunity to Learn policy conference titled "Averting Educational Crisis: Successful Strategies for NY" on Feb. 11 in Albany, NY. For more presentations and materials from the conference visit www.aqeny.org/feb-11-2013-conference.

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This fantasic video from OTL ally Alliance for Quality Education asks the very simple question: Will you fund our schools?

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Who better to talk about the challenges and opportunities young women of color face in education than the young women themselves? As part of an ongoing project, the Wellesley Centers for Women partnered with Boston-based Teen Voices to produce a short film featuring teens "as the experts and agents of their own learning experiences, offering examples of effective strategies and solutions for closing the opportunity gap." The goal of the project is to promote public discourse about barriers to educational equity for girls of color and push for change in education policy and practice.

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This must-watch video is a touching short film that elevates the voices of those at the center of America's education crisis – namely, the parents, teachers and students who must bear the brunt of today's standards-based reform agenda (which includes standardize testing, school closures, merit pay, competitive grants, inequitable funding, etc.) without the supports they need meet those standards or provide every student with a fair and substantive opportunity to learn.

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Check out this amazing video chronicling Journey for Justice, a protest event held in Washington, D.C. in September! Advocates from across the country (including several OTL allies) traveled to the nation's capital to rally and march against school closures, which disproportionately affect low-income communities and communities of color. Before being given the axe, these schools are often set up to fail: they're chronically underfunded and unable to provide the types of resources and opportunities students need to succeed. As the advocates in the video say, "Justice is equitable funding for all our schools."

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Parent advocates fighting the use of so-called Parent Trigger laws to turn public schools over to charter management organizations held a red carpet protest at the worldwide film premier of Won't Back Down, a production of pro-privatization Walden Media.

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The Dignity in Schools Campaign is gearing up for their annual National Week of Action on School Pushout! Check out this trailer for the event, and click here to learn more and get involved in your local community!

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On Thursday, September 20th, parents, students, and advocates from the across the country will be driving to Washington D.C. to protest school closures and advocate for supports-based reform policies. Journy for Justice is an event not to be missed! Check out the trailer below to learn more!

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In August, the Opportunity to Learn Campaign joined with the Dignity in Schools Campaign to launch "Solutions Not Suspensions: A call for a moratorium on out-of-school suspension." Watch video of the Los Angeles launch event, courtesy of Our Weekly, below. Learn more about the initiative here.

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Let the students from Youth United for Change, PhillyCAM and Art Factory fill you in on the crisis facing public schools in Philadelphia. The groups produced a short "docu-music video" chronicling the effects of school closures on students, teachers and communities. "Project 2012: Ending the Education Apocalypse" is hands down one of the best pieces of student activism you'll see!

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Over the next several months, the New York Education Commission will be hosting public hearings across the state. Check out this video from Alliance for Quality Education to learn how to register to speak at your local regional meeting!

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The National OTL Campaign's first webinar, held on Tuesday July 24th, explored the issue of education redlining, in which bad policies systematically deny resources and opportunities to certain communities. Attendees heard from panelists Michael Holzman, Senior Research Consultant for the Schott Foundation for Public Education, and Jennifer LaFleur, Director of Computer Assisted Reporting at ProPublica. Watch the full video of the webinar below.

Click here to learn more about the event and download the resources and tools discussed during the webinar! 

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A recap of great advocacy efforts in New York by the Coalition for Educaitonal Justice.

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Want to organize a press conference for your local group but never done it before? Alliance for Quality Education has you covered with this nifty "How To" video tutorial that will teach you all you need to know to host a successful press conference. Watch and learn everything from how to chose the most persuasive speakers and the best location to alerting the media and getting your message out there! 

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Education historian Diane Ravitch speaks about teacher accountability on PBS's American Graduate, a project addressing the country's high school dropout crisis. 

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About 100 protesters from the Boston-area Youth Organizing Project, Alliance for Education Justice and the National Campaign for Quality Education  held a "Rhee-Action" protest in November 2011 outside of a Michelle Rhee speaking engagement in Boston. The former superintendent of education in Washington, D.C., recommended implementing her education "reform" plan in Boston's public school system. The students, teachers and local organizers protesting made it clear they did not support Rhee's reforms and that her advice was unwelcomed in the debate over Boston's schools. 

Check out the video below! And click here to read more about the event in The Daily Free Press

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Appleseed asks parents, educators and student board members to take action to make schools more equitable across the nation. 

And be sure to check out Appleseed's Resource Equity Assessment Document, a great resource for school boards and communities to measure the distribution of educational resources within and between districts. Download it here!

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Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, an OTL partner, has released "An Arkansas Student Bill of Rights," which details what students and parents should expect from their school districts and the resources and opportunities to which they are entitled in order to receive a quality education and reach their full potential. Watch the video, then download the report here!

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In late March 2012, Massachusetts student advocates from Youth On Board and the Boston Student Advisory Council joined up with Chicago student advocates from Voices of Youth in Chicago Education at a press conference to push for the inclusion of student input in teacher evaluations in Chicago public schools. The MA students won their voice in teacher evaluations in June 2011. In April 2012, the Chicago public schools announced its new teacher evaluation system will include a pilot program for student feedback. The two groups of students connected at the 2011 National Opportunity to Learn Summit in Washington, D.C. 

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 From AQE, a great video recap of advocacy efforts in NY and the difference parents, students and teachers can make in the fight for quality public education. 

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Raise Your Hand Campaign is a student-led research initiative in New Orleans schools that pulled together student testimony and research from 6 different public high schools to examine the opportunities, or lack thereof, available to students in the years after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city. The report the students assembled (download here) examines everything from teaching quality and student support services to physical environment and school food, and gives each school a report card and recommendations for improvement. Altogether, the Raise Your Hand Campaign is a stunning example of students organizing to make their voices heard in the education reform debate. Watch the video chronicling their initiative below.

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In 2007, students from the Boston Student Advisory Council began demanding a voice in teacher evaluations. After designing a student-to-teacher feedback form, they had it approved by the Boston School Committee and implemented throughout the district. In 2011, the MA Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to make student feedback a mandatory component of official teacher evaluations. 

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On March 14th, Alliance for Quality Education held a rally in Albany, NY, to demand equitable funding for the state's public schools and support for struggling schools. Over 1,800 students, parents and educators attended the rally. Tina Dove, Director of the National Opportunity to Learn Campaign, spoke about the importance of organizing and the need for residents to make their voices heard to elected officials. 

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Arkansas Public Policy Panel Executive Director Bill Kopsky outlines 8 characteristics of effective school systems that guarantee every child has an opportunity to learn. This clip is excerpted from a longer television workshop on the Arkansas dropout rate that aired in November on AETN - the Arkansas PBS affiliate. 

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Michael Diedrich, policy analyst for Minesota 2020, explains why quality education is unlike other goods and services provided by the competitive market and why market-based education policy is the wrong approach for reform. 

(Associated Press) - Educators fear that a new measure that will slash $4 billion in funding to Texas public schools over the next two years will permanently handicap them because it removes any long-term obligation for the state to maintain a minimum support level.

Normally, a school's funding level is determined by a formula based on enrollment, but for the first time since World War II the Legislature has reduced per-student funding, a trend that could continue under the new school finance law.

Education advocates argue lawmakers could fund everything else before appropriating education money, potentially leaving schools with a smaller chunk of state money each year.

Members of Young Voices Rhode Island recently conducted an analysis of the state’s education system and developed vision for education reform for the state. Their vision does not lay blame on any one group, but instead looks at the whole education system, suggesting ways to improve the performance of districts, principals, teachers, and students. The students met with Governor Chafee on May 12, 2011 to present their plan, and will be following up with his policy team. 

Today the NAACP released Misplaced Priorities: Over Incarcerate, Under Educate, a stunning look at the human and economic impact of our country's overfunding of prisons and underfunding of education.

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CNN's Christine Romans spoke to NAACP president Benjamin Todd Jealous and Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist on prison spending, as detailed in NAACP's new report: Misplaced Priorities: Over Incarcerate, Under Educate. Cities covered in the report include Los Angeles, CA, Philadelphia, PA, Indianapolis, IN, Jackson, MS, Houston, TX, and New York, NY.

With state budgets buckling, American teachers are facing the erosion of tenure protection, employee benefits, and other job protections that they fought for and won years ago.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has rightly argued that painful spending cuts will be needed to close New York’s projected $10 billion deficit. The hard truth is that it is impossible to cut spending deeply without cutting the state’s huge outlays for education and health care. That means that New York’s most vulnerable citizens — schoolchildren, the elderly, the poor, the sick — will feel a disproportionate amount of the pain.

After a 30-minute press conference in which eight Senate Democrats (and Billy Easton of the NYSUT-backed Alliance for Quality Education) made the case to extend an income tax surcharge on the top three-percent of earners, Easton and Sen. Jose Peralta said they were open to raising the tax floor about $200,000.

A message for Gov. Cuomo rang through the halls of the state Capitol on Wednesday. Parents, students and teachers are not happy with proposed cuts to education in New York State.

SYRACUSE -- Education advocates boarded a bus to Albany Wednesday morning to join hundreds of other New Yorkers for Education Lobby Day.

Courtesy Kyle Hughes of NYSNYS, here’s footage from Wednesday’s Alliance for Quality Education rally at Albany’s Washington Avenue Armory.

ALBANY -- Hundreds are rallying in Albany today as part of Education Lobby Day 2011.

They're demanding Gov. Cuomo reduce education cuts by rejecting multi-million-dollar tax cuts for the wealthiest New Yorkers.

ALBANY –  Jennifer Holmes has twin third grade grandchildren attending Albany School for the Humanities on Whitehall Road.

She joined hundreds of other citizen activists to rally and then walk to the State Capitol to urge lawmakers to reorder their spending priorities.

ALBANY -- New York's loss could be New Jersey's $350 million gain if the "millionaires tax" is allowed to sunset at the end of this year.

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1200 parents and students from across the state were joined by elected officials, clergy, teachers and community organizations in a rally against the proposal by Governor Cuomo to enact $1.5 billion in cuts to schools combined with $4.6 billion in tax cuts for wealthy New Yorkers. The rally, at the Albany Armory, was followed by a march to the Capitol and Legislative Office Building and lobby visits with legislators. Governor Cuomo’s cuts are the largest ever proposed in the history of New York State, the tax cuts for the state’s highest income earners are supported by the Senate Republican Majority as well as the Governor. Polls show that three-quarters of New Yorkers oppose the education cuts and two-thirds of New Yorkers oppose tax cuts for high income earners.  If the cuts are enacted, schools across the state will need to get rid of thousands of teachers, guidance counselors and librarians, cut arts, sports, music, college and career prep courses and basic educational services.

ALBANY — A Republican state senator said on Wednesday that he would introduce legislation to extend a temporary state income tax surcharge on wealthy New Yorkers, a move that could shift the political calculus around a measure strongly supported by Democratic lawmakers but opposed by most Republicans and by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

ALBANY, March 10, 2011 --1200 parents and students from across the state were joined by elected officials, clergy, teachers and community organizations in a rally against the proposal by Governor Cuomo to enact $1.5 billion in cuts to schools combined with $4.6 billion in tax cuts for wealthy New Yorkers.

 
The Capitol corridors were clogged with education advocates who traveled to Albany from around the state to demand the governor's proposed funding cuts be restored.

 

People across the country are speaking out to stop the devastating budget cuts and attacks on teachers that are turning public education, a critical underpinning for our democracy, into a battleground.  The OTL Campaign also wants to ensure that the voices of our nation’s classroom teachers are heard—those people entrusted with our children’s future, and by extension, with our nation’s future—about the impact of those attacks.  We urge you to read this Wisconsin teacher, who weeps for that future.

Ninety percent of brain development happens during a child's first five years. But, surprisingly, only 16 percent of Long Islanders believe that these early years should get top priority in education funding. Shouldn't we be providing more resources to parents of preschoolers and early childhood programs?

The nation's most visible budget battle was heavy on passion and light on legislative attendance Thursday as Wisconsin wrangled over a bill that would strip teachers and other public employees of most of their collective bargaining rights and cut their benefits.

Workers across Wisconsin have continued to pour into Madison today to protest Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to dismantle power of the state’s unions. Walker recently introduced the Budget Repair Bill, which he says is necessary to help the state deal with its $137 million budget shortfall for 2011. But the move is largely seen as an attack on the state’s long-celebrated unions — some of which got Walker elected.

As four game wardens awkwardly stood guard, protesters, scores deep, crushed into a corridor leading to the governor’s office here on Wednesday, their screams echoing through the Capitol: “Come out, come out, wherever you are!”

President Obama thrust himself and his political operation this week into Wisconsin's broiling budget battle, mobilizing opposition Thursday to a Republican bill that would curb public-worker benefits and planning similar protests in other state capitals.

Community Actions Seek to Protect Students' Opportunity To Learn

It’s not surprising that President Barack Obama focused heavily on both bipartisanism and education in his State of the Union address Tuesday night. Despite recent calls for civility following the shootings in Tucson, members of both parties in the divided 112th Congress have their gloves off on health care and immigration policy, with more contentious battles in the queue.

President Obama should be applauded for keeping education at the top of the nation's policy agenda at a time when so many other important issues -- the ongoing recession, two wars, health care, etc. -- demand his attention.

 

 

 

 

Two dozen demonstrators, including two City Council members, were arrested in Downtown Manhattan Monday as they protested the proposed closing of 25 public schools that the Panel for Educational Policy will vote on this week.

The Department of Education has for years been able to predict which schools will fail based on a number of factors, but many disadvantaged schools have been blamed for their crummy performance and marked for closure anyway, according to a department analysis obtained by The Post.

Twenty-four people, including two members of the New York City Council, were arrested on Monday at a protest over plans to close two dozen city schools, authorities said.

They stood and formed a human blockade on Chambers Street Monday evening. The chant could be heard from down the block.

The fight to improve urban schools in New Jersey has had its ups and downs. At steep expense, we have seen only modest gains in most districts.

Education reform is about to return to the headlines, if not the floor of Congress, if President Obama’s State of the Union is any indication. Obama built his feel-good speech Tuesday night around the uncontroversial theme of “winning the future” and nestled every major policy issue within this rhetorical frame. He put particular emphasis on education as the path to that victorious future. But the education agenda the president articulated contained no surprises. It’s the same one his administration’s been selling for the past two years—and it’s the same one many of his critics have been fretting about for just as long.

The number of New York City student suspensions more than doubled in the six years after Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg took control of public schools and as the city moved toward a zero-tolerance approach toward misbehavior, according to a report released on Thursday.

ALBANY -- Poor and minority students stand to suffer the most from the expected school aid cuts Gov. Andrew Cuomo has promised, according to a new report.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s well-oiled campaign organization recently sent out this fundraising pitch, touting his goal of restraining spending and taxes:
“We need to raise money once again so we have the resources to fight this battle. We cannot allow Governor Cuomo’s positions to be misrepresented by special interest campaigns . . . ”

When the results of the latest international assessment—the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA—were released, our national leaders sounded an alarm about a national "crisis in education." Our students scored in the middle of the pack! We are not No. 1! Shanghai is No. 1! We are doomed unless we overtake Shanghai!

 

 

 

 

For the 27th, government officials have yet again been surprised, shocked and dismayed over the latest international test score rankings. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, “We have to see this as a very serious wake-up call.” Former Reagan education official Chester E. Finn Jr. reported that he was “kind of stunned” by the results of the Program for International Student Achievement (PISA) results. In hyperbolic overdrive, he compared the results to Pearl Harbor and Sputnik.

On Sunday, December 5, Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank went on the television newsmagazine 60 Minutes and said in his own way something that progressive educators in general, and the Opportunity to Learn Campaign (OTL) in particular, have been saying for some time. That unless we work to ensure that all children receive a fair and equitable Opportunity to Learn we not only hurt their future but the future prosperity of our society. Please see Chairman Bernanke’s quote and a brief segment of his 60 Minutes interview below.

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Superman -- sweeping in to solve a crisis?

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A national education assessment released Thursday shows that high school seniors have made some improvement in reading, but remain below the achievement levels reached nearly two decades ago.

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More than two-hundred students, educators and policymakers attended the first Arkansas Opportunity to Learn Summit at the Hilton in Little Rock.

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 Dr. John H. Jackson, President of the Schott Foundation for Public Education, speaking at the Arkansas Opportunity to Learn Summit in November 2010 in Little Rock.

Six weeks after Newark’s mayor and New Jersey’s governor stood in the Oprah Winfrey spotlight and received a $100 million grant to overhaul the state’s largest school district, politicians, experts and others say the reform effort is already getting off course, with questionable spending and wasted effort.

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Some public schools in Newark are among the best in the city, performing as well as charters in certain areas, according to the annual Kids Count survey to be released today.

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Black male students are nearly twice as likely to drop out of high school as their white counterparts. A new study says that statistic and others call for a different approach to help black men and boys succeed.

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Black male students in Baltimore are staying in school and receiving their diplomas in higher numbers, school officials said on Wednesday, raising hope that future generations of city youths will gain skills needed for success in life.

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African American boys who are suspended at double and triple the rates of their white male peers. English language learners who, for years, remain in separate classes, falling behind their peers and scoring poorly on standardized tests. Disabled students and those with illnesses who are shortchanged at school because of their impairments.

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Deborah Meier and Diane Ravitch have found themselves at odds on policy over the years, but they share a passion for improving schools. Bridging Differences will offer their insights on what matters most in education. They discuss
the matters surrounding the statement that was issued by the NAACP, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the National Urban League, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, the National Coalition for Educating Black Children, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and the Schott Foundation for Public Education. The press briefing was canceled at the last minute, when the leaders were invited to meet with Secretary Arne Duncan at the very hour they had scheduled their press briefing.

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Seven leading civil rights groups, including the NAACP and the National Urban League, called on U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today to dismantle core pieces of his education agenda, arguing that his emphases on expanding charter schools, closing low-performing schools, and using competitive rather than formula funding are detrimental to low-income and minority children.

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It is most politely written, but a 17-page framework for education reform being released Monday by a coalition of civil rights groups amounts to a thrashing of President Obama’s education policies and it offers a prescription for how to set things right.

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Executive Director, Education Law Center

It bears repeating that “national” or “common” content standards alone, even if adopted and implemented by the states, are insufficient to improve educational quality and performance in public schools serving the nation’s high poverty, high minority communities, no matter how well written.

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Today, a group of seven education and civil rights groups released a six-point plan for equitable and sustainable national education reform in this country. And, big surprise, the report is basically a 17-page repudiation of the Obama administration's education reform platform.

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Andrew Gillum, City Commissioner and Mayor Pro Tem of Tallahassee, Florida, discusses the inequities of property tax-based education funding and the fact that every child no matter where they are born deserves the same opportunity.

 

 

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Albert Sykes and Marquis Lowe of the Young People's Project in Jackson, Mississippi, talk about organizing and self-educating youth in schools in order to not only ensure successful students, but to lay the foundation for a cohesive community outside school.

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Leah Webb, an organizer with Citizen Action of New York, reminds us that an important way for us to pull ourselves out of a recession is to invest in education.

 

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Dylan Torres, of Jóvenes Unidos in Denver, Colorado, reminds us of the potentially huge impact that immigrant youth and students could have, and the importance of organizing them. 

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Zakita Royster, organizer with the Philadelphia Student Union, asks why students and teachers - but not principals, administrators, police, or policymakers - are the only ones "held accountable."

 

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Sabita Ramsaran is a Youth Organizer for Desis Rising Up and Moving NYC. Ramsaran describes the increasing militarization of public schools in New York City, in particular Hillcrest High School in Queens.

 

 

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Carlos Loumiet is a Partner at Hunton & Williams LLP and Board Chair of the New America Alliance. Loumiet discusses the role technology can play in ensuring an opportunity to learn for all students.

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Greg Jobin-Leeds, Co-Founder and Chair of the Schott Foundation, discusses the need for teacher autonomy - and the need for policymakers to be held accountable as well.  

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Gail Christopher, VP for Programs at the W.K. Kellog Foundation, discusses her organization's role in effecting change in education policy, and confronting our nation's history of racial conflict.

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Russlyn Ali, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the US Department of Education, discusses the crucial role data plays in examining the achievement gap - and fixing it.

 

 

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Learn about the Opportunity to Learn Campaign, and its fight for four core resources: early childhood education, access to highly effective teachers, college preparatory curriculum, and equitable instructional resources.

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Source: National Institute on Early Education Research

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Watch this video to learn more about QUALITYstarsNY, a new voluntary five-star rating and improvement system (QRIS) designed to assess the quality of early care and learning programs across New York State.

Love them or hate them, the proposals collectively known as “school reform” are mostly top-down policies: divert public money to quasi-private charter schools, pit states against one another in a race for federal education dollars, offer rewards when test scores go up, fire the teachers or close the schools when they don’t.

 

Public school teachers and their unions are under a sustained assault that is still unfolding. In 2010 Michelle Rhee, former Washington, DC, schools chancellor, announced the creation of a multimillion-dollar lobbying organization for the explicit purpose of undermining teachers unions.

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Philadelphia's schools opened at the start of this school year in the midst of a funding crisis. While state lawmakers dragged their heels on a proposed cigarette tax to provide money for the city's schools, parents, students and teachers took to the streets for a week of protests to demand the full, fair funding their schools deserve. The Media Mobilizing Project captured the week of protests in this great new video.

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