This Week in Education Organizing - May 18, 2018

J4J Releases Equity Assessment Report

The Journey for Justice Alliance released a new report this week, documenting vast disparities in 12 cities, between curricular offerings in schools serving white students, versus those serving majorities of Black and Brown students. The “equity assessments” compare course offerings in predominantly Black and/or Latino schools with majority white schools close by. The disparities are clear. White schools offer multiple languages while Black schools offer only Spanish. White schools have dozens of Advanced Placement courses, while Black schools offer only a few. White schools have long lists of career learning opportunities, arts and music, while Black schools have fewer. The full report, including the course listings, is available HERE. The report was released at a press conference at the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. Check out a video of the report HERE.

Massachusetts Senate Passes Education-boosting Budget

Members of the Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance (MEJA) celebrated huge victories last week as the Senate Ways and Means Committee passed an annual budget bill that increases education spending. That same day, the full Senate unanimously passed a bill to update the state’s education funding formula.

The budget includes additional funding for local education aid, as well as nearly $5 million for a school breakfast program. The bill heads to the Senate floor next week and will eventually be reconciled with the House budget bill, which has already passed.

The proposed changes to the state funding formula were first recommended in a 2015 report by a commission created to review and update the state’s education funding formula. The commission report, and the bill passed by the Senate would authorize an additional $1 billion in spending on public education, and includes 5 key recommendations: updating the formula’s calculations of special education costs; increasing the amount of funding targeted to English Language Learners; providing additional funding to districts with high concentrations of students in poverty; collecting better data on school funding, and updating the formula used to calculate employee health benefits. The bill adjusts the formula, but does not appropriate actual funds. Even if passed by the House, the legislature would have to appropriate funds annually to fund the formula.

While the two massive victories mean a great deal to the education justice community who’ve been demanding the legislature fully fund public schools, the state education funding formula bill will now have to be passed in the House where it faces a serious uphill battle. MEJA is planning to keep pressure on the House Leadership.

Restorative Justice Implementation: Understanding School Discipline Data: A Webinar Hosted by the Advancement Project – May 22

A strong system of data collection has the potential to expand the impact restorative justice can have on a school community. As the school year comes to a close, Advancement Project is hosting a webinar on May 22 that will detail the importance of collecting and analyzing your school's discipline data.

The recent release of the 2015-16 Civil Rights Data Collection shows the continued disproportionate number of students of color in suspensions, expulsions, and school-based arrests. By identifying when discipline is being used disproportionately towards marginalized students, data has the power to be an instrument for racial and social justice and a tool for dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline.

Denver Public Schools' Allison Meier and Advancement Project's Robb King will discuss the types of data that need to be collected when considering the implementation of restorative justice and outline ways to analyze your school's discipline data in real time to calculate disparities through a new data collection tool.

Please register for Restorative Justice Implementation: Understanding School Discipline Data on May 22, 2018, 6:00 PM ET.   Register HERE. After you register, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Radical Listening. A Webinar Hosted by Youth on Board and the Schott Foundation – May 24

In order to win in the current political climate, our social movements need to be more effective, more resilient and more rooted in collective healing than ever before. Youth on Board’s ListeningWorks project is harnessing the power of radical listening to strengthen social movements, build bridges between divided communities and create a shared vision of liberation. Using our signature Action & Support model—refined over twenty-five years and based on radical listening, restorative justice and social emotional learning—we are building a national cohort of movement builders, civic leaders and community organizers dedicated to transforming healing and support systems for themselves and deepening engagement with their communities using a relational and love-centered approach. We invite you to learn about our model and join our efforts to heal movements and communities across the country.

Join Youth on Board on May 24th at 2:00 eastern time. Speakers will include: Esteniolla Maitre, ListeningWorks Project Manager, Youth on Board; Carlos Rojas Alvarez, ListeningWorks Project Manager, Youth on Board and Marianna Islam, Director of Programs & Advocacy, Schott Foundation for Public Education (moderator). To register for the webinar, click HERE.

Little Sis Documents the Movers and Shakers Fighting Against Education in the #REDforED States

Little Sis – the national database on the Right – has put together a great report on the monied players behind the efforts to dismantle public education and teachers unions in Colorado, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Arizona. In the wake of teacher uprisings in those states, it’s incredibly useful to understand who the enemies of public education are, and how they ply their trade. If you don’t know Little Sis, you need to. Check out their website HERE, and the new resource on the education battles in the #RedforEd states HERE.


May 22nd : Restorative Justice Implementation: Understanding School Discipline Data on May 22, 2018, 6:00 PM ET. See details above. Register HERE. After you register, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

May 24th at 2:00 eastern time. Radical Listening, a webinar hosted by Youth on Board and the Schott Foundation. See details above. Register HERE.


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