community organizing: laying a foundation

Second in a series on community organizing and education reform. This post links to resources at the Annenberg Institute .

Honoring Dr. King through Community Organizing for Education Reform to Eliminate the Achievement Gap | Annenberg Institute for School Reform: "Often overlooked and frequently ignored in the school reform discussion is the role of community organizing. Drawing heavily on the lessons of community organizing around housing, neighborhood safety, jobs, and economic development, this approach offers a methodology for parents and community members to effect meaningful change for students poorly served by the public school 

... "At its core, organizing is about relationships, and the methodology provides strategies for developing mutually accountable personal relationships. Furthermore, education organizing is an outstanding vehicle for building authentic partnerships between schools’ two central constituencies: families and teachers. Community organizing emphasizes shared, democratic decision making and provides a model for parent relationships in schools on an equal footing with educators."       'via Blog this'

The site has more information and it also provides a PDF Getting Started in Education Organizing .  Community organizing as an education reform strategy  links to three efforts in the Northeast:
  • The Pioneer Valley Project
  • , a coalition of congregations and labor unions representing several thousand families in the metro Springfield region, established a Teacher Home Visit program in partnership with the Springfield Public Schools and the teachers union. Teachers are trained to visit students’ homes to build positive relationships with parents.
  • Voices for Vermont’s Children
  • , a statewide organization that organizes individuals as well as agencies that serve young people, successfully organized for legislation expanding services, including education, to 18-22-year-olds in state custody. They are deeply involved in efforts to make school funding in Vermont more equitable and stable.
  • The Boston Youth Organizing Project
  • , which has been organizing young people to improve high schools for fourteen years, won a new citywide contract for guidance counselors stipulating that they meet with all students twice a year. BYOP has formed a city-wide coalition with four other youth organizing groups to amplify the voices of young people in decisions about education and other areas that impact their lives.
Laying the Foundation
If parents can truly get involved in deep change within local schools, transformative changes could be made. Homeschoolers have changed laws in most states. Now more parents need to learn, organizem and start asking for services their families need. Schools as community resources could, indeed, partner with families and transform themselves in the process.

Gar Alperovitz’s Green Party Keynote: We Are Laying Groundwork for the "Next Great Revolution":

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