This Week in Education Organizing - July 1, 2016

The Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools Newsletter
  July 1,

Welcome to our July 1 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.

Save the Date!
Save the date – more walks-ins this October!

At a planning meeting in Washington, D.C. in June, Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools partners from across the country decided to hold another round of national school walk-ins on October 6. This will be the third round of walk-ins that AROS has coordinated in recent years, each growing in size as more parents, students, teachers and community members have joined the movement for the schools all our children deserve. We are honored to stand with so many passionate advocates for public education and can't wait to make October our biggest event yet. Check out our Save the Date flyer here, and stay tuned for details!

A powerful article in the New York Times this week traces the history of Detroit's failed experiment with charter schools. Detroit has the largest share of students enrolled in charters out of any U.S. city besides New Orleans, and for-profit companies operate 80 percent of charters in Michigan. The result has been a system of school choice that has "cannibalized" Detroit's schools and proves that charters and school choice are not the solution for ensuring every student has access to the educational opportunities they deserve. Read the article here.

The Center for Popular Democracy has released another report in its series examining the corruption and incompetence in our nation's charter school sector. Over the past two years, CPD has found more than $216 million worth of waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement in charter schools across the nation. It's an alarming finding given the billions of dollars that federal, state and local governments are putting into charter schools without adequately overseeing how those funds are used. Read the report here.

The federal Charter Schools Program (CSP) is the largest funder of charter expansion in the country. This week, the CSP announced that 20 state departments of education have applied for 2017 funding (typically in the range of $50-$100 million per state) for charter start-up grants.  Applicants include Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Washington and Wisconsin. For more information about the program, see the federal CSP website here. If you’re interested in thinking about ways to challenge your state education department around the use or terms of these grants, contact Leigh Dingerson at AROS ( We're anticipating that the grant awards will be announced in late September.


July 7 Webinar: The Schott Foundation for Public Education and the Dignity in Schools Campaign will be hosting a webinar to talk about how to turn data into action. In the wake of federal data that shows continued disparities in discipline in schools across the country, the webinar will focus on how advocates and organizers can use the data to spark change in their communities. RSVP here.

August and September AROS Webinars: AROS will host three “how-to” webinars to help community groups, youth-led groups and teachers prepare for the national walk-ins on October 6.  Each webinar will include basic planning and preparation ideas and suggestions. The third webinar will also include a focus on how to handle both traditional and social media for your walk-in. The three webinars will take place on August 18 at 4 PM Eastern, August 23 at 7 PM Eastern, and September 13 at 6 PM Eastern. Mark your calendar now and join us for a webinar! Access information to follow soon.

Follow the Alliance to Reclaim our Schools on Facebook and Twitter.