Community Organizing and Engagement
Current national and local education policies often pit teachers and parents against each other, trapping them in a cycle of blame and mistrust. But in one Minneapolis community, parents and teachers decided to work together to make their schools better – with great results. Organized Parents, Organized Teachers is a short film that tells their story.
The portfolio district model adopted by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in New York City is often held up as a national model for high school "choice," touted as the best way to reduce pernicious race- and income-based achievement gaps. According to this model, student demographics are “no excuse” for poor performance: teacher quality is the single most important determinant of student success.
This series of seven profiles summarizes some of the key policy and implementation challenges that have been confronted and addressed by district superintendents, teachers, school leaders, and others working to transform struggling schools across the nation. The profiles are designed to provide community-based groups, educators, and other advocates with examples of alternatives to school closings and to inform discussions in their own communities.
The "achievement gap" — the ongoing racial inequality in public school education — has proven stubbornly persistent. Schools have employed a variety of measures in an attempt to reduce this academic divide; the emergence of education organizing as a school reform tactic offers a promising alternative, outlined in AISR's Center for Education Organizing publication, "Getting Started in Education Organizing."
This downloadable guide is designed to enhance community groups’ use of the film Parent Power in their own education organizing. The guide outlines successful organizing strategies that are depicted in the film, offers up questions for groups to consider when formulating their own organizing strategies and goals, and answers frequently asked questions that may come up while viewing the film.
This downloadable toolkit is designed to help organizations and individuals who are hosting screenings of the film Parent Power to plan and host a screening, as well as jumpstart community conversations and actions aimed at improving their schools and districts. The toolkit includes ideas for framing your event as well as tips on publicizing the screening, moderating post-screening discussions, and partnering with other groups to host the event.
Through the voices of parents, this film chronicles fifteen years of effective parent organizing for education reform in New York City – organizing that has stopped budget cuts, increased school funding, and led to the adoption of a citywide lead teacher program.
In 1995, a small group of parents in the south Bronx discovered that only 17 percent of their elementary school children were reading at grade level. Their determined campaign to bring high-quality education to their neighborhood, one of the poorest in the nation, evolved into a citywide effort that has united thousands of parents from African American and Latino communities in all five boroughs. Together they are working to improve the future of New York City’s children. Parent Power is their story.
THE IMPACT OF COMMUNITY AND YOUTH ORGANIZING ON PUBLIC SCHOOL REFORM