This Week in Education Organizing - Dec. 4, 2015

The Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools Newsletter
  December 4, 2015

Welcome to our December 4 newsletter! 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.

PIIN Community Schools Campaign
PIIN launches their Community Schools Campaign.
Picture via Cynthia Jarrold.

In November, the Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network (PIIN) launched their Community Schools Campaign in conjunction with local AROS partner Great Public Schools Pittsburgh. Over 1,100 people were in attendance to hear why students need schools that eliminate barriers to academic success. Working with the Pittsburgh Federation Teachers, SEIU 32BJ, SEIU Health Care PA, and Action United Pittsburgh, PIIN will begin building public awareness about the community schools model and organizing a large-scale public demand for community schools to be Pittsburgh's turnaround model.

Congress is poised to finally pass a reauthorization of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The new iteration of the law is called the Every Student Succeeds Act and may reach President Obama's desk by the end of the year. The Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools will release a full briefing paper next week, so stay tuned. In the meantime, the key takeaway to remember about the proposed legislation is that it gives state legislatures the power to decide how to intervene in low-performing schools without the constraints of the federal mandates in place under ESEA's previous iteration, No Child Left Behind. Read a brief rundown of the bill here.

AACF AR Kids Need
AACF's #ARKidsNeed social media campaign.
Picture via AACF.

Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families has a new report out detailing how states can meet the educational, health and economic security needs of young children. Arkansas ranks among the lowest states in terms of child well-being and has particularly limited opportunities for African American children. However, policies like paid parental leave, high quality early education, after school and summer programs, and expanded access to health care would help better support children and their families. Read the report here, and then join AACF's #ARKidsNeed social media campaign.

On Thursday, Education Minnesota released an exciting report profiling successful, full-service community schools in Brooklyn Center and Duluth. The schools can act as a model for expanding wraparound services to students and their families across the state to boost academic achievement and strengthen local communities. The report also contains action steps for how parents, teachers and community members can work together to push for these kinds of schools in their districts. Read more here and here, and download the report here.


MILWAUKEE - Dec. 5: Schools and Communities United will host a citywide summit to discuss the future of Milwaukee Public Schools and how to organize around the community schools model. Click here for details. 

NATIONAL - Dec. 9: The Coalition for Community Schools, the Center for Popular Democracy, and the Southern Education Foundation will host a webinar on Kentucky's school-based Family Resource and Youth Service Centers and how they support the national movement for community schools. Register here.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Dec. 10: The Journey for Justice Alliance, Advancement Project and the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education will be hosting a breakfast forum focused on the impact of school closures in low-income communities. Register here.

NEW YORK CITY - Dec. 12: The NYC Coalition for Educational Justice will host a Parent Power School event to explore the impact of race on education policy issues like school funding, standardized testing and school discipline. Click here for details.

Follow the Alliance to Reclaim our Schools on Facebook and Twitter and learn more at