This Week in Education Organizing - September 9, 2016

The Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools Newsletter
  September 9th, 2016

Welcome to our September 9th 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.


Departments of Education and Justice express concern about violence committed by school resource officers—then expand the program

The U.S. departments of Education and Justice released a series of letters this week to schools and districts, offering guidance on the appropriate roles for school resource officers (aka police) in public schools.  There are an estimated 17,000 school resource officers in schools across the country, and the program is expanding annually.

Youth-led and civil rights organizations were quick to respond.  “The Federal guidance does nothing for the millions of Black students who attend schools with cops but no counselors—students who are 2.3 times as likely to be arrested as their white counterparts,” said Jonathan Stith, director of the Alliance for Education Justice (AEJ).  “We join with AROS in calling for the Departments of Education and Justice to divest from programs that criminalize our children in the classrooms and to fund solutions that actually work—like Restorative Justice.”   

AEJ, the Philadelphia Student Union and the Advancement Project released a statement on September 8th.   You can read the DOE and DOJ letters here:  Education Department to campuses: http://bit.ly/2cpDmxO and school districts: http://bit.ly/2cb49hE.  Justice Department to campuses: http://bit.ly/2clb3SG and school districts: http://bit.ly/2cGPUUT.

Youth on the move and boots on the ground in Boston

A dedicated team of youth canvassers, many of whom organized and led the two Boston Public School walk-outs in March and May, have already knocked on over 8,000 doors this summer and have led statewide youth gatherings in Boston, Worcester, Lawrence and most recently Brockton.  The youth canvassers are going to continue to be a key part of the campaign to defeat question #2—a ballot initiative that, if passed, will raise the cap on charter schools across Massachusetts. The students will also continue to gather on local and statewide strategy and actions that will hold the city of Boston and the state of Massachusetts accountable for the funding crisis in their schools. More here.

Journey for Justice to pressure presidential candidates on education: September 26

The Journey for Justice Alliance (J4J) with partners the Network for Public Education and NY Communities for Change is planning a series of events on September 26th on Long Island, aimed at pressuring the presidential candidates to address public education issues in their campaigns.  The action coincides with the first official debate between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump, to be held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York that evening.  J4J plans a press conference, and educational forum and then a march and protest.  For more information, check out the J4J website at www.j4jalliance.com and help shine a spotlight on the events with the hashtag #j4jednation on the 26th.

Community schools initiative advances in Philadelphia

The City of Philadelphia has launched its community schools initiative with the selection of nine schools to pilot the effort, and the hiring of community schools coordinators at each of them.  Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenny has committed to establishing 25 community schools across the city over the next 4 years.  An investment of $4 million has been made to launch the initial nine schools.  More on the first round of schools herePhoto credit: Jessica Griffin, Philadelphia Inquirer


UPCOMING EVENTS

October 6th National Day of Action: Where will you be for the Walk-Ins?  Parents, teachers, students and community members will be walking in at over 200 cities and 2,000 schools on October 6th. Next week we’ll be bringing you stories from some of these places. For more information, visit our website, or take a look here to see pictures, video and newsclips from our May 4th walk ins.