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November Newsletter 2014


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Vol. XI Issue 8 November 2014

In this Issue

Equity Tools

National Equity Atlas
: PolicyLink
recently launched the National Equity Atlas - a unique data tool for those working to transform America's broken economy into one that is equitable, resilient, and prosperous.

Racial Equity Tools: Racial Equity Tools is designed to support individuals and groups working to achieve racial equity. This site offers tools, research, tips, curricula and ideas for people who want to increase their own understanding and to help those working toward justice at every level – in systems, organizations, communities and the culture at large.

Spotlight on Poverty: This clearinghouse of poverty tools offers a variety of indicators and measures of poverty, access to research, data, and resources on how to comprehensively address the effects of poverty in our communities. 

For more information, please visit our new equity page.


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NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has made an unprecedented investment in community schools through $150 million to transform 94 of the city’s lowest-performing schools into community schools.  This comes on top of his prior commitment to create 40 community schools.

As Mayor de Blasio said, "Community schools embody the values we believe should drive public education and make a real difference in student achievement... We cannot expect a model created in the 1800s to deliver a 21st century education. Community schools are designed for us, here and now: they invite parents and other members of the community in on their own schedule; and they prepare students for the jobs of today – which increasingly require skills previous generations could not have dreamt of…Community Schools can – and in time will – make a difference in every part of the city."

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American Federation of Teachers President, Randi Weingarten praised New York Mayor de Blasio's commitment to Community Schools saying, "I think it's audacious, I think it's terrific." The news has recieved considerable media coverage, including an article and op-ed from the New York Times. The Coalition wrote a letter to the editor in response to the Times that clarifies the impact of community schools and why this is the right strategy for these schools CBS News and Chalkbeat are talking too.

The developments in New York City represent a seminal moment for the community schools field.  It raises the visibility of our work creating both opportunities and challenges.  Do principals, teachers, parents, and partners have a shared vision and is their work aligned toward a common set of results?  Is the work of teachers and community partners tied together?  Are systems leaders working to create the conditions for success on the ground? Is the leadership at the school prepared to operate in deep partnership with community? 

Luckily our partners at the National Center for Community Schools, as well as The After Schools Corporation, the Coalition for Educational Justice and many others are available to build the capacity needed to make this historic effort successful. 

We'll continue to track what is going on. You can continue to follow the New York story, here.

 2014 Election - What Does it Mean for Us?
Sen Lamar Alexander  


As a result of the midterm elections, the new Senate Chairman of the education committee will be Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who has a rich education background, including as the former U.S. Secretary of Education. He supports a significantly reduced federal role in education than the Obama administration, often stating that the U.S. Department of Education has been acting as a “national school board.” He has noted that he would like to move on ESEA/No Child Left Behind reauthorization. People are talking about what this means for the nation and our individual communities. Here are some additional things to think about:

Tools From the Field

The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) has created a helpful tool to support afterschool system building efforts. Better Together: A Resource Directory for Afterschool System Builders,” is a comprehensive directory that identifies over 50 organizations that offer resources and tools on afterschool system building. Staying on top of the ever-evolving list of national organizations and their work can be daunting, and this directory is a one-stop shop for information on the leading afterschool tools, information, and resources.

Are you a teacher? Do you want to learn more about Community Schools and how you fit into the broader picture? The American Federation of Teachers has created a new community school brochure focused on teachers. They've also been sharing videos of teachers' perspectives on Community Schools. 

News

Why People Are ‘Walking-In’ For Public Schools

Jeff Bryant of the Education Opportunity Network highlights why folks around the country are standing up and rallying for Community Schools. Actions throughout the week have been lifting up the power of this movement. As Bryant states, "Today’s nationwide walk-ins should be a call to all Americans to demand our leaders abandon current public education policies and begin implementing what would truly represent a more positive direction forward." Read More >

Demonstrators Rally in Pittsburgh to Support Community Schools Across U.S.

"Great Public Schools Pittsburgh today rallied in favor of community schools outside the headquarters of Pittsburgh Public Schools in Oakland, one of about 15 such demonstrations across the country," explains Eleanor Chute of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Joining forces and taking action, those who rallied emphasized how community schools stabilize communities and go beyond the "status quo." Read More >

Video: AFT Rallies for $10 Million More for Baltimore Community Schools

Speaking about her beloved community school in Baltimore, 7th grader Chelsea Gimler passionately stated that “It makes our communities better, it makes our children better, and it will make our generation better as a whole”. Gimler’s statement was just one of many highlighted in a video released by AFT demanding $10 million to continue and expand the thriving Baltimore community schools initiative. Read More >

Helping Children from Low-Income Families Succeed in Class

“There are six grantees (at 11 schools) operating Community School partnerships in the District, but the model should be expanded to all high-poverty schools,” says Jenny Reed and Soumya Bhat of the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute in their Washington Post Opinion. They offer many suggestions for helping low-income students succeed in school – all of which are part of the community schools strategy. Read More >

Click here to read more news...

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The Coalition for Community Schools believes that strong communities require strong schools and strong schools require strong communities. We envision a future in which schools are centers of thriving communities where everyone belongs, works together, and succeeds. The Coalition advances opportunities for the success of children, families and communities by promoting the development of more and more effective, community schools. The Coalition for Community Schools is housed at the Institute for Educational Leadership in Washington, D.C.

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