The Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools Newsletter
Have you signed the Color of Change petition supporting the new AROS Platform, Education Justice is Racial Justice? If not, take 2 minutes right now to sign the petition, then share it on your Facebook page and on Twitter. Next, copy the link to the petition, plug it into an email, and email it to 30 of your personal friends and colleagues, asking them to sign. AROS is setting a high bar – we want to signal the breadth of the country’s demand for real investment for education and racial justice. Be one of the people who signs TODAY!
QUESTION 2 IN MASSACHUSETTS ATTRACTS NATIONAL PRO-CHARTER MONEY
Polls are tight in Massachusetts, where a ballot initiative—Question 2—asks voters to lift the cap on the number of charter schools allowed in the state. The “No” campaign #NoOn2 has rallied significant support, including from Senator Elizabeth Warren, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and nearly all of the state’s elected school boards (see a great graphic of the school board resolutions here). A new video shows the breadth of opposition in Boston. The charter industry is worried, as demonstrated by this week’s announcement that the national organization Democrats for Education Reform—is dropping $500,000 into the race in Massachusetts in an effort to shore up the “yes” vote. In addition, the International Business Times reported this week that a handful of financial firms have bypassed anti-corruption rules to funnel funds to the “yes” campaign. Incredibly, some of those dollars are coming directly from Massachusetts teacher pension funds. Here’s even more evidence of the corporate backing for Question 2.
BALTIMORE DEFINES AND DESIGNATES COMMUNITY SCHOOLS
In Baltimore, the city school board has adopted a policy formalizing a community schools program and codifying the formal application process to operate under the designation. There are currently 53 community schools in Baltimore, with another 4 in the pipeline and over 30 organizations providing a wide range of supports for the schools.
At the same time, the challenges of implementing a community schools model, and sustaining it for the length of time it takes to actually show results, is addressed in an article this week in Chalkbeat New York.
PENNSYLVANIA CHARTER BILL HEADED TO THE CIRCULAR FILE?
The PA legislature has adjourned until after the elections without voting on HB 530, a controversial charter school bill in the state. The bill would lift charter enrollment caps and allow charters to open new schools and expand their enrollment from outside the district in which they are authorized and operate. The bill would further stack the Charter Appeal Board by including two additional charter school members and fail to rein in the out-of-control cyber charter industry in Pennsylvania, which continues to perform poorly.
Organizers with Education Voters Pennsylvania believe that the bill will not be brought up for a vote during this session (which ends on November 30), and will therefore die at that time.