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The Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools (AROS) is an unprecedented alliance of parent, youth, community and labor organizations that together represent over 7 million people nationwide. We are fighting to reclaim the promise of public education as our nation's gateway to a strong democracy and racial and economic justice.
AROS believes that the best way to ensure each and every child has the opportunity to pursue a rich and productive life is through a system of publicly funded, equitable and democratically controlled public schools. After years of division, AROS is uniting parents, youth, teachers and unions to drive the transformation of public education, shift the public debate and build a national movement for equity and opportunity for all.
Who We Are
Over the past year, the AROS platform, demands, and strategy have grown organically out of the organizing work of local community-labor alliances across the country. Today, AROS is comprised of ten national partners:
National Organizations in the Alliance Include:
What We Believe: The Schools All Our Children Deserve
The last two decades of education “reform” have brought us a system of rewards and consequences as the motivators for educational innovation. This includes the proliferation of charter schools, mass closures of public schools, pay-for-performance plans for teachers, and a fixation on standardized testing. Along with these un-proven strategies, public school districts—particularly those that serve Black and Brown children—have suffered through years of divestment and austerity budgeting that has stripped them of the kinds of opportunities and resources that students must have to succeed. The majority of students in our country’s public schools are low-income. How can we deny these students the investment they deserve?
AROS has developed a collaborative national platform that calls for real investment in public education. Our set of demands includes:
- Billions of dollars for public schools in black and brown communities
- Qualified teachers, relevant curriculum and social and health care services – what we call “Sustainable Community Schools”
- Positive discipline policies and an end to zero-tolerance
- An end to high-stakes tests that are used to punish schools, teachers and students, and more time for teaching and learning
- An end to the expansion of unaccountable charter schools
- A real commitment to parent and educator leadership and democratic process.
The Advancement Project is a next generation, multi-racial civil rights organization. Rooted in the great human rights struggles for equality and justice, we exist to fulfill America's promise of a caring, inclusive and just democracy. The Advancement Project combines law, communications, policy and technology to create workable solutions and achieve systemic change on issues of democracy, voting rights and access to justice. They serve as a leader, facilitator and organizing support partner in the fight against the School-to-Prison Pipeline.
Alliance for Educational Justice
The Alliance for Educational Justice is a national collective of approximately 30 intergenerational and youth organizing groups across the nation that work with local and federal policymakers to transform public education to a system that equally prepares all students – regardless of race or socioeconomic status – for college, meaningful employment, and full participation in democracy.
American Federation of Teachers
The American Federation of Teachers represents 1.6 million members in more than 3,000 local affiliates nationwide, including pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local governments employees; and nurses and other healthcare professionals.
Center for Popular Democracy
The Center for Popular Democracy works to create equity, opportunity and a dynamic democracy in partnership with high-impact base-building organizations, organizing alliances, and progressive unions. CPD strengthens our collective capacity to envision and win an innovative pro-worker, pro-immigrant, racial and economic justice agenda.
Gamaliel works to empower ordinary people to effectively participate in the political, environmental, social and economic decisions affecting their lives. Its diverse members apply their faith and values to the pursuit of equal opportunity for all, shared abundance, and stronger, more prosperous communities.
Journey for Justice Alliance
Journey for Justice is an alliance of grassroots community, youth, and parent-led organizations in 21 cities across the country. Its members are base-building organizations pushing back against and demanding community-driven alternatives to the privatization of and dismantling of public schools systems.
National Education Association
The National Education Association, the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. Its 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.
NYU Metro Center
NYU Metro Center is dedicated to the pursuit of academic excellence and educational justice for all students. We partner with local and state educational agencies and community organizing groups to strengthen access, opportunity, and educational quality, particularly for young people, and particularly those from historically vulnerable groups. The Center accomplishes its mission through the implementation of high-quality research, strategic assistance to schools , districts, community and youth groups, and direct services to students, teachers, parents, administrators, policy makers, and organizations committed to equity and educational improvement.
People’s Action and People’s Action Institute were founded in 2016 to ignite a movement of millions that captures the rising demand for change in our society. Comprised of more than 100 local, state and national community and labor groups across more than 30 states, People’s Action/Institute’s long-term goal is to reverse the trajectory of growing economic inequality by building an economy that expands opportunity for all communities, with an emphasis on racial and gender equity. Formed through a merger of powerful national organizations, we also come from a storied history of innovation and success, and remain committed to advancing the people's agenda through grassroots organizing at the local, state, and national level.
Schott Foundation for Public Education
The Schott Foundation for Public Education, through its National Opportunity to Learn Network, unites a growing coalition of advocates and organizers from across the country working to ensure that all students have access to a high quality public education. The OTL Network includes local, state and national organizations, grassroots community leaders, policymakers, youth organizers, business leaders and philanthropic partners.
Service Employees International Union
The Service Employees International Union represents 2 million diverse members in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, including early education, K-12 and higher ed employees ranging from day care providers to school bus drivers to university adjunct teachers. Many SEIU members are parents who are passionate about education being key to their children's success, and they want to see SEIU deeply involved in education issues.