National Opportunity to Learn Network

Schott’s Opportunity to Learn Network (OTL) unites a nationwide coalition of Schott grantees and allied organizations working to secure a high quality public education for all students.

By creating a space to highlight and celebrate grassroots organizing, share success stories and provide resources, OTL strives to create real and substantial change in our public education system. OTL advocates for supports­-based education reform, one that provides all students with access to crucial resources and opportunities such as early education, wraparound supports, fair school discipline, well­-supported teachers, and equitable school funding. To support our network of advocates and organizers, OTL provides regular updates on current grantee campaigns, publishes policy guides, infographics and other resources, and hosts summits and other network building events, all of which can be found below.

The Latest from the OTL Network

The latest from the Schott Foundation and our allies.
Schott President Dr. John H. Jackson was a guest on The Damage Report to discuss the launch of the second installment of Schott’s Loving Cities Index. As John explained, "We want to provide the public sector and philanthropy a new way to invest and assess whether or not cities are doing what's necessary to provide the ecosystem where all students can learn and all families can thrive.”
George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and now Rayshard Brooks — all Black people whose lives and purposes were snuffed out by White Supremacy. These four slain Americans were fathers, brothers, mothers, sisters, and one-time students of our nation’s public education system. If we acknowledge the truth about the systemic racism in our country, we must also acknowledge the impact that racism has on our children and their classrooms. For us, #BlackLivesMatter is more than just a hashtag or social media post. #BlackLivesMatter is a policy doctrine that should govern how we think about safety, health care, the economy and certainly our nation’s public schools.  For Black lives to matter, we must reconstitute our nation’s classrooms and ensure that they are places that push back against the epidemic of racism and anti-Blackness. Its symptoms include under-resourced school buildings, oversized classrooms, over-policing, less access to necessary protections, lack of opportunity, and disinvestment.  Together, we — parents, students, community, educators and our local unions — believe we can cure anti-Blackness in our children’s classrooms  Here are the 9 things we can do today to combat anti-Blackness and racism for the sake of our babies and their neighborhood public schools: 
Local public schools and their educators have produced America’s most brilliant artists, scientists, doctors, musicians, lawyers, presidents, and more — people from all walks of life, contributing to society in countless ways. Given the incredible challenges and obstacles presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, we're especially proud of the Class of 2020 graduates and the dedicated educators and support staff who helped millions of students successfully finish out the school year.
Schott President Dr. John H. Jackson appeared on Fox News this past weekend, arguing that the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the inequities in America's cities far beyond the schoolhouse, and that educators, districts and states will need billions of dollars in support from the Federal government in order to re-open safely this fall. He also discussed the new Loving Cities Index relates to this moment. "We know that parental income is the best predictor of student outcomes, and in many respects parental income is a proxy for a host of indicators," Jackson said, "access to healthcare, access to transportation, healthy foods. So we have to be able to measure the degree to which cities are able to provide these infrastructure supports, and do it in an equitable way, if we care about all students having a fair and substantive opportunity to learn."
Across the country, everyone is asking one question, “When will we get back to normal?” A cry similar to that of previous generations who often beckon back to the “good ole’ days.” If we are honest, the desire to get back to a place called “normal” is not because the past was better, but simply because it was familiar. The very fact that our past “normal” included a system where, in most school districts, you could identify by race and ethnicity which students were more likely to be suspended, expelled, or less likely to graduate says it all. Our past “normal” was actually abnormal (unless, for some reason which defies all science, you believe that intellect is distributed by race and ethnicity).
As we mark the Fourth of July and reflect on our nation’s promises of liberty and freedom, we must confront the fact that those promises are not equally fulfilled, especially for African Americans. If you ever doubted it, the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing acts of police brutality have made this extremely clear. Patriotism is not a performance act. In order to create real equity and justice we must hold our country accountable for its systemic racism and long history of denial of rights to Black Americans. As Frederick Douglass declared on July 5, 1852, "This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn.
The deliberate devaluation of Black-majority cities stems from a longstanding legacy of discriminatory policies. The lack of investment in Black homes, family structures, businesses, schools, and voters has had far-reaching, negative economic and social effects. White supremacy and privilege are deeply ingrained into American public policy, and remain pervasive forces that hinder meaningful investment in Black communities.
Demonstrations across the U.S. over the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and so many others who have died at the hands of police brutality have further exposed our deeply racist and oppressive police system. The weight of this moment, created by a tidal wave of organizing and mobilization, has forced public school leaders to reevaluate the presence of police in public schools.
You’ve seen the videos of the devastating impact of police violence against people of color in the streets. As you express outrage — and take action, we urge you to look deeper.  Look within our schools.
On June 19, 1865, a group of enslaved people in Galveston, Texas were read General Order No. 3, announcing the total emancipation of those held as slaves. Starting in 1866, Juneteenth has been celebrated annually not just for emancipation in Texas, but as a symbol of freedom from slavery across the country.