This Week in Education Organizing - April 22, 2016

The Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools Newsletter
April 22, 2016

Welcome to our April 22 newsletter! As always, share the latest stories from your city or state with us on Twitter and Facebook. Don't forget to tell your friends and colleagues to sign up for our newsletter here.

Join the May 4 Walk-Ins!
Chicago student participating in the Feb. 17
walk-ins. Picture via Brighton Park
Neighborhood Council.

We're just a few weeks away from our second nationally coordinated walk-in event! On May 4, AROS allies in more than 41 cities and districts will host rallies outside their schools before the first bell and then walk into the buildings together in a show of solidarity. Our nation's public schools are under attack, but parents, students and teachers across the country are fighting back with a vision of public education that prioritizes racial justice, equity and well-resourced, world-class, public community schools.

If you haven't already, check out our toolkit of resources to help organizers plan for the May 4 walk-ins. This week, we have a new flyer as well as a guide for getting parents involved in the walk-ins from our friends at the Alliance or Quality Education and UFT.

More details about the May 4 event and a list of participating cities are available here. And don't miss this recap of the first national walk-in event in February to get a taste of what May 4 will be like!

If you want to host a walk-in for May 4 or join the fight for public education, let us know by emailing AROS Campaign Director Madeline Talbott (

Mississippi lawmakers voted this week to authorize the state to take over struggling public schools, removing them from local authority and putting them in the unaccountable hands of appointed officials. Both the Center for Popular Democracy and the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools have issued reports over the past year (available here and here) showing how ineffective these state takeovers are and how they disenfranchise local communities. What does improve educational opportunities for students are fully funded community schools. State officials have long neglected Mississippi public schools, and in November, conservative lawmakers successfully stymied a ballot initiative that would have forced the state to fully fund its public schools. AROS will continue to fight across the country to defeat these state takeover efforts and build support for strong public schools that have the resources and programs they need to offer children the kind of education they deserve.

AROS staff and allies spoke about the impact of state takeovers on a panel last weekend at the Network for Public Education's conference in Raleigh, NC. AROS National Director Keron Blair, Journey for Justice's Jitu Brown, The Annenberg Institute's Leigh Dingerson, and Cicily Harsch-Kinnane from Public Education Matters-GA discussed how takeovers discriminate against and disenfranchise communities of color and fail to improve academic opportunities for students. They also discussed several reports on state takeovers including "Out of Control" by AROS, "Investing in What Works" by Annenberg and the Southern Education Foundation, and "State Takeovers of Low-Performing Schools" by the Center for Popular Democracy.


May 4: More National Walk-Ins on the Horizon!
After the success of the February 17 walk-ins, the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools will be organizing a second national walk-in event on May 4. Details here.

May 25: Extending Opportunities for Children in Poverty
The Center for Great Public Schools will host a symposium on May 25 with panels covering poverty’s effects on child development, promising practices, and policy recommendations beyond the schoolhouse. Register here.

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