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.
The Schott Foundation for Public Education in partnership with Native Americans in Philanthropy, with support from Nike N7, recently released a set of recommendations for helping Native youth live healthy lives. These recommendations came directly from Native American leaders who hold expertise across health, physical fitness, education and youth development sectors. The report, Original Instructions, outlines both challenges and opportunities to philanthropy. It’s a first step towards using our resources to recognize and learn from the resilient Native youth.
In many ways 2017 seemed like a never-ending stream of bad news and attacks on public education. However, advocates kept up the good fight and the movement for education justice saw growth and increased capacity. Thanks to our grantee partners and allies working tirelessly in communities across the country, we’d like to share some good news! In no particular order, here are the top 10 policy wins our grantee partners helped secure. These victories give us hope for 2018 and reinforce the idea that positive change in public education starts at the grassroots.
We missed something last election. In November 2016, America’s presidential election—the biggest political platform in the world—gave voice to sexual violence against women, the degradation of the environment, xenophobia, racism, and exacerbated divisions among and between political parties. All the while, beneath the cacophony of rally cries, “alternative facts,” and Twitter feeds, lived the deep desire of so many to just be heard. And so we missed something—we missed the simple, yet revolutionary, act of listening to each other.
Schools across the country increasingly rely on school-based police officers. Today there are an estimated 30,000 officers now in schools, up from roughly 100 in the 1970s. Although the stated purpose of these officers is to maintain a sense of safety, a very troubling consequence is greater arrest rates and referrals for minor disruptive behaviors — with especially harsh results for girls of color. According to 2013-2014 data from the U.S. Department of Education, Black girls are 2.6 times as likely to be referred to law enforcement on school grounds as white girls, and black girls are almost 4 times as likely to get arrested at school. Disparities affecting Latinas are especially severe in elementary school where they are 2.7 times more likely to be arrested than young white girls. In light of this data, schools and districts must work to improve interactions between girls of color and school resource officers (SROs), striving to keep girls of color safe and supported in schools and reduce disproportionate rates of contact in the justice system. Schott Foundation is pleased to partner with the Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality in the wide distribution of Be Her Resource: A Toolkit about School Resource Officers and Girls of Color, to districts, police departments, community, parent and student advocates across the country.
Here at the Schott Foundation, we believe the people most impacted and with the most at stake should be at the forefront of social change. We work to amplify local voices and encourage community leaders to speak out on critical issues, providing tailored support and trainings to strengthen efforts for change across the country. Schott is excited to highlight four of our vibrant community partners on this year’s Giving Tuesday, an annual event that spotlights nonprofit organizations working to make a difference in their communities. Our partners are proof that when communities come together and organize, they can achieve anything—no matter where they are.  Your generous donation will support Schott’s ability to provide funding to these dynamic grassroots organizations on the front lines of the fight for education justice, as well as the network-building, policy advocacy and communications resources they need to lead the movement for social change. 100 percent of all donations will go to these four partners.
The Schott Foundation's chief operating officer, Heidi Brooks, was recently profiled in Harvard Business School's alumni magazine, chronicling her work not just at Schott but across her entire globe-spanning career: A born adventurer with a passion for social justice, Heidi Brooks (MBA 2003) uses her business savvy to effect social change. Since 2014 Brooks has served as chief operating officer of the Schott Foundation for Public Education, a nonprofit organization focused on strengthening public education through grants and advocacy. The organization seeks to end the school-to-prison pipeline through disciplinary reform and ensure that schools with high needs receive the necessary resources and funding to achieve their goals.
A groundbreaking new report released yesterday details the barriers facing Native youth in urban public schools and highlights inspiring solutions already being implemented in communities across the country. Our latest webinar covers the Native Urban Indian Family Coalition's Resurgence: Restructuring Urban American Indian Education to understand how to scale up these promising alternatives. Featuring Janeen Comenote, Executive Director of the National Urban Indian Family Coalition (NUIFC) and Dr. Joe Hobot, President and CEO of the American Indian OIC, this webinar is a useful introduction for those new to issues affecting Native youth, and also provided new data and tools for experienced activists and advocates.
Dr. John H. Jackson, President and CEO of the Schott Foundation, was selected by EBONY Magazine as one of 100 inspiring African American leaders. Ebony will honor Dr. Jackson as a Community Crusader for his work as a strategic leader in philanthropy and a staunch advocate for public school students. Dr. Jackson will join a star-studded cast of honorees on December 1st in Los Angeles, CA including Oprah Winfrey, Kendrick Lamar, Dwayne "Rock" Johnson, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Hart, Viola Davis, Chance the Rapper, Magic and Cookie Johnson, Angela Rye and many more.
The struggles for racial justice and educational justice have been interlinked from the beginning of our nation’s history. It was under Black leadership during Reconstruction that the South saw the first state-funded public schools. The long, arduous work to win and maintain school integration was a keystone struggle during the Civil Rights movement. And today, the most powerful and energetic movements for education justice — fighting for fair funding, strong neighborhood public schools, and restorative justice — are those that take an intersectional approach to organizing.
Please join FairTest in celebrating recipients of the Deboarh W. Meier "Hero in Education" Award, honoring Schott Foundation President & CEO Dr. John H. Jackson and Massachusetts Teacher Association President Barbara Madeloni.