Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, the one thing most Americans can agree with is that the system is not working for everyone.
Our education system is only providing opportunities for success to a portion of our children. Healthcare is largely unaffordable and inaccessible. Corporations have more rights than the people employed there and getting fair pay and personal leave is a luxury afforded only to the most elite. And our financial systems reinforce the inequities of all these other systems, pushing low and middle-income individuals into debt and eviscerating their opportunity to build wealth across generations.
This week has been full of particularly bad news from the U.S. Supreme Court — from upholding the President's travel ban to Justice Kennedy's retirement to the Janus opinion.
Supreme Court opinions can often impact public education in surprising and unexpected ways, but the court's decision in Janus is a direct assault on educators and other public workers, the culmination of years of attacks by billionaire-funded front groups and politicians. Educators, along with students, parents, and community members, must be at the heart of any successful education justice movement. In the wake of Janus, the Schott Foundation, along with many of our grantees and partners, are standing with public school teachers and declaring, in the words of the old union slogan, an injury to one is an injury to all.
Schott is proud to support organizations working toward a more fair and just school climate for all students, including addressing the challenges faced by LGBTQ students and students of color.
In May, a report coauthored by Boston Indicators and the Fenway Institute was released by the Boston Foundation, "Equality and Equity: Advancing the LGBT Community in Massachusetts." Almost 16 percent of people in Massachusetts aged 18 to 24 identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or something else. Almost half of LGBT youth have considered attempting suicide, compared to 11 percent of their straight peers. LGBT youth of color face unemployment, unstable housing, and food insecurity.
Our grantee partner Youth on Board is offering training and support to interested communities looking to deepen community engagement work and emotional support within organizations.
ListeningWorks was created in response to the current political climate of hate and division in this country. Grounded in Youth on Board’s Action and Support model of 25 years, ListeningWorks trains and supports movement builders and community leaders to harness proven listening, healing-based and human-centered strategies that deepen community activism.
On the weekend of May 18-20, Journey for Justice Alliance (J4J) hosted over 200 attendees in Chicago, Illinois for their national conference: We Choose Equity, Not The Illusion of School Choice.
J4J is a national alliance of grassroots community, youth, and parent-led base building groups organizing to win community-driven alternatives to the privatization of and dismantling of public school systems in their neighborhoods, states and nationally. Launched in 2013 with 13 cities, J4J has now grown to 31 cities across the United States and also Johannesburg, South Africa.
In order to win in the current political climate, our social movements need to be more effective, more resilient, and more rooted in collective healing than ever before. Youth on Board’s ListeningWorks project is harnessing the power of radical listening to strengthen social movements, build bridges between divided communities and create a shared vision of liberation. Using our signature Action & Support model—refined over twenty five years and based on radical listening, restorative justice and social emotional learning—we are building a national cohort of movement builders, civic leaders and community organizers dedicated to transforming healing and support systems for themselves and deepening engagement with their communities using a relational and love-centered approach. We invite you to learn about our model and join our efforts to heal movements and communities across the country.
Forbes just released its annual list of the wealthiest folks on Earth, who have an average net worth of $4.1 billion. Every time one of these lists comes out, the first thing I do is scan for names that are not white men, and every time, I'm disappointed. You could hardly find a more striking visual to demonstrate that colonial dynamics are alive and kicking here in the 21st century, dividing the world into haves and have-nots.
The Journey for Justice Alliance, a Schott grantee partner and national network of community-based organizations in 31 cities, released a new report, Failing Brown v. Board, last week. The report illuminates just how inequitable public education remains today, largely across racial lines. Through examining course offerings at high schools in 12 cities (and one elementary school in Chicago), this report, which is backed by substantial research, shows how black and brown students are denied “access to inspiration” in comparison with their white, more affluent peers. Failing Brown v. Board was released on the first day of the new Poor People’s Campaign.
Each of us can think of an educator who made a positive impact in our lives, picked us up when we were down, or helped kindle a lifelong curiosity and love of learning. Teacher Appreciation Week is usually a time to simply reflect on the importance of educators in society and to thank them for the incredibly important work they do.
When parents, youth, community members and educators join together, they can move mountains.
From West Virginia to Oklahoma and a growing list of states across the country, educators are making demands that go far beyond fair wages and benefits: they are advocating for newer textbooks, smaller class sizes and pushing back against the austerity measures and harmful policies that undermine student-centered learning environments. Local communities are locking arms with educators and joining those efforts.
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