This Week in Education Organizing - March 11, 2016

The Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools Newsletter
  March 11, 2016

Welcome to our March 11 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.

AROS is hiring! We're looking for a national campaigns coordinator, so check out the job posting for details and send resumes to AROS National Director Keron Blair (


Boston student walk-out
Thousands of Boston students walked out of
class on March 7
. Picture via BEJA.

Thousands of Boston public school students walked out of classes on March 7 to protest proposed budget cuts in the district and a proposal in the state legislature to lift the cap on charter schools. Additional rallies were held at Faneuil Hall and outside a Boston School Committee budget hearing.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh accused the students of being pawns of unions and adult advocates, but students struck back hard, describing their organizing efforts in a article. And just yesterday, Walsh announced that he would work to spare the city’s high schools from the budget cuts. Now that’s student power! Read more about the student walk-outs here.

The Center for Popular Democracy’s Kyle Serrette wrote a great commentary on sustainable community schools for Bright. He highlights the successes of community schools across the country, such as John H. Reagan High School in Austin, and efforts in New York City, Philadelphia and Newark to expand the model to more students and families. Read the column here.

Youth Summit
Students from across the country gathered in
Chicago for a youth summit. Picture via AEJ.

On March 5, the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools brought together students and youth leaders from Chicago, Miami, Milwaukee, Boston and Newark for a youth summit in Chicago to strategize on how AROS can help support their work. The young people came together to share organizing stories, exchange strategies, link their local battles to a national narrative, and plan together for a series of coordinated actions. Stay tuned as we develop our work to end the privatization of our schools and build education for liberation!

Over 50 parents, educators, school staff, principals and community activists gathered at Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy on Tuesday to learn about and advocate for public community schools. The forum was organized by Great Public Schools Pittsburgh, a coalition of parents, educators and community activists that is fighting to protect and win world class public schools for Pittsburgh students and families. Parents and community members shared personal experiences and learned more about how community schools could strengthen their schools and neighborhoods. Forum attendees agreed to work towards winning a community schools policy in the district before the end of the school year. They also plan to attend a School Board hearing later in the month.

A statewide coalition of educators, parents and community groups successfully advocated for and recently introduced legislation to expand the number of community schools across Maryland. House Bill 1139, the Maryland Community School Strategy for Excellence in Public Education Act, would augment the state's public education funding formula to expand community schools and afterschool and summer learning opportunities. On Thursday this week, state elected officials heard from students, community school practitioners, parents, educators and advocates at a forum about how community schools would benefit their neighborhoods.


March 18: Webinar on State Takeovers
The Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools, the Center for Popular Democracy and the Southern Education Foundation are co-hosting a webinar about state takeover districts on Friday, March 18th at 11 a.m. Eastern. This free webinar is open to all, so click here to register.

April 1: Chicago Solidarity
Chicago organizers have big plans for April 1, and they’re asking all of the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools network to support them. Actions in Chicago will focus on the city and state's refusal to fully fund Chicago Public Schools and the role of the billionaires and Wall Street interests in systematically stripping money away from schools. The Chicago Teachers Union and its allies are calling for progressive taxation to support schools and universities and to restore critical services. Please ask your organization's members to wear red on April 1 to show your solidarity for Chicago. And don't forget to post some pictures to Twitter and Facebook using #ReclaimOurSchools and #brokeonpurpose.  

May 4: More National Walk-Ins on the Horizon!
Mark your calendars: 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. We'll have more details soon, so stay tuned! We'll also be updating our walk-in toolkit from February with new materials for the May event.

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