This Week in Education Organizing - October 202, 2017

The Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools Newsletter
October 20, 2017

Welcome to our October 20th 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 “Mass Migration of Messages” – Fight for the DREAM Act!

With the lives of 800,000 DACA recipients, including approximately 20,000 educators at risk, NEA is launching a mass migration of messages to Congress on the wings of digital butterfly postcards. Join with them to increase pressure on Members of Congress as the window for Congress to act to prevent Dreamers from losing their status is fast approaching in December.

Find the beautiful butterfly digital postcards here:

The artwork on the postcard was created by Favianna Rodrigues for the NEA. Butterflies have become the symbol of the beauty of migration and signify transformation and freedom.   

On October 25th, NEA and partners will bring the messages to the halls of Congress, and the efforts will continue until all Dreamers are protected without having to trade their lives and livelihoods for those of their parents or an increased militarization of our borders.

Please share this campaign with your constituencies and across your networks.  We are trying to gather as many digital postcards as we can in a short amount of time to send a strong message to Members of Congress. You can find some sample tweets, posts and graphics to share here.

The Hidden Truth -- Unhidden

Miami-Dade County Public Schools: The Hidden Truth is a new report by the Power U Center for Social Change and the Advancement Project.  The report uplifts students’ call for safer, more supportive school environments in Miami-Dade County, Florida. The student-developed report grades Miami-Dade County Public Schools on school climate metrics, demands additional school investments in student supports, and an investment in solutions rooted in reproductive and restorative justice. 

The student report found that: 

  • The district continues to invest heavily in strategies that push students out of school and into the criminal justice system, thus perpetuating the school-to-prison pipeline.  This emphasis on punishment is clear through an analysis of the district budget.
  • MDCPS fundamentally fails to support the reproductive health of students. From focus groups and surveys we learned that students lack access to comprehensive sex education and that the majority of students surveyed felt their school did not effectively address sexual harassment.
  • Restorative justice programming is nascent; student success centers are out-of-school suspension by another name, and that
  • MDCPS’s lack of data transparency is alarming. In developing A Hidden Truth, report authors found that key data around reproductive and sexual health programming, school discipline and success centers was either difficult to obtain, publicly unavailable or simply not reported by the district.

Take a look at this important report, by clicking on the hyperlink above.

Massachusetts Education Justice Committee Continues to Fight Against Dark Money

Nearly a year after Massachusetts voters decisively rejected a proposal to expand the number of charter schools across the state, more light is being shined on the massive infusion of dark money into the pro-charter campaign.  Before voters went to the polls in November 2016, they knew that Paul Sagan, the chairman of the state board of education had contributed $100,000 to the pro-charter effort.  When asked whether it was appropriate for Sagan to have made the contribution, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker called the issue “a nothingburger.”  But things look different now.  What wasn’t known at that time was that Sagan had contributed an additional $496,000 to the campaign, through Families for Excellent Schools.  That contribution, and hundreds of others, were bundled to keep the names of donors secret. When this was revealed last month, FES was slapped with the largest fine in state election history, and banned from doing business in Massachusetts. This week, MTA president Barbara Madeloni writes in a powerful commentary in the Boston Globe that the dark money issue, and Paul Sagan’s backing of the ballot initiative was anything but a “nothingburger.”  

Step-Up Louisiana Shows Backpack Full of Cash

Step-Up Louisiana hosted a public showing of the documentary, Backpack Full of Cash on October 17th at the Carver Theater in New Orleans.  The screening was followed by a panel discussion among a high school student, a parent and a parent advocate, two recent high school graduates and an education policy expert and teacher. Each told their story of how they experienced education reform in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.  

Which Side Are You On?  Singing Testimony at the Philadelphia School Reform Commission

Ron Whitehorne with the Our City, Our Schools Campaign (OCOS) delivered his testimony to the School Reform Commission last week in an unusual way – through song!  Our City, Our Schools has been organizing to win a return to local control in Philadelphia, whose schools were taken over by the state in 2001.  Progress is being made, and organizers and members of OCOS are optimistic that local control may finally be handed back to the district soon.  With musical appeals like Ron’s, how can the SRC hold out much longer? 

Welcome to the Fight-Back:  A Webinar.  Wednesday, October 25th at 2:00 eastern

The struggles for racial justice and educational justice have been interlinked from the beginning of our nation’s history. It was under Black leadership during Reconstruction that the South saw the first state-funded public schools. The long, arduous work to win and maintain school integration was a keystone struggle during the Civil Rights movement. And today, the most powerful and energetic movements for education justice — fighting for fair funding, strong neighborhood public schools, and restorative justice — are those that take an intersectional approach to organizing.


The Schott Foundation is hosting and moderating an important discussion on Wednesday, October 25th, on the intersection of racial justice and education justice.  Speakers from three key national networks--the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools, the Journey for Justice Alliance, and the Dignity in Schools Campaign—will present on their work and perspective.  Click here to register


Welcome to the Fight-Back – A Webinar.  October 25th at 2:00 Eastern.  See above for information and registration.

Backpack Full of Cash:

Wednesday, October 25th in Chicago.  Join the Grassroots Education Movement and Chicago Teachers Union for a free public showing at the SEIU building at 2229 S. Halsted Street at 6:00 cst.

Wednesday, November 8th at Occidental College, Los Angeles.  Join LAANE and Reclaim Our Schools LA for this free showing of the documentary, Backpack Full of Cash. There will be a Q&A session after the film to discuss opportunities to raise awareness about issues facing public schools in Los Angeles.  Seating is limited. RSVP here.

Journey for Justice Alliance National Conference 2018: We Choose Equity, Not the Illusion of Choice


Attend the Journey for Justice Alliance national conference on May 18-20, 2018 in Chicago.  The conference will be held at Walter H. Dyett High School – the public school that was the site of the powerful Dyett Hunger Strike in 2014 that succeeded in keeping the school open.  Pre-Register for the conference. Stay tuned for detailed workshops, keynote and activities. 

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

The Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools
Privacy Policy | Email Preferences