Community Organizing as an Education Reform Strategy

Posted by on January 30, 2011

Community organizing and reform

A new report from the Annenberg Institute for School Reform (AISR) looks at the growing body of literature on community organizing to understand how it fits into systemic education reform. While many reforms are innovative, they often fail to take root due to lack of trust, understanding, or cultural relevance to the community targeted by the reform. The high turnover of reformers (superintendents, principals, or outside organizations) in high-need schools and districts is another major cause of reform failure. Reforms also fail because they do not address extreme inequities in resources and empowerment between poor communities and their more privileged counterparts. The research shows that community organizing for school reform has the potential to create equitable changes in schools and districts, develop innovative education solutions that reflect the knowledge of underserved communities, and build the long-term social capital of underserved communities both to support schools and districts and to hold them accountable for improving achievement. In addition to reviewing the literature, AISR staff also compiled a directory of 50 community organizations involved in New England education reform. Strong networks exist at the city, regional, and national level, and many community organizations with strong capacity in organizing and engagement are considering education work as a next step.

See the report:

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