New Report: Organizing for School Reform

Posted by on May 16, 2003

[Public Education Network Newsblast]

A new study from the Institute for Education and Social Policy examines the work of 66 community groups that are organizing to improve public education in low-performing schools and districts. Largely local, community-based organizations, these groups focus on engaging public school parents and low-income families, as well as students themselves, in efforts to improve their schools. They aim to build political power and to challenge public school systems that serve children poorly. The study found that school reform organizing plays a significant role in creating the political context in which change can happen. Organizing groups focus schools on critical issues, identify and build support for key interventions, and establish a stronger sense of accountability between
schools and communities. They are increasing the ability of young people, parents, and community residents to participate in local reform efforts, and they are helping members to raise essential school performance questions forcefully and persistently. The study highlights the need to develop greater capacity in the organizing groups, create and strengthen intermediary or “support” organizations that provide technical help such as data analysis, develop better ways to measure the impact of organizing, and build more understanding and support for the work among funders.

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