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.
A defining theme of 2020 was the nationwide increase in grassroots activism. Across the country, people young and old took to the streets to challenge racial injustice. Whether it was in action on the climate crisis, or in demonstrations in response to fatal police shootings, communities have proven time and again that they care, they are connected, and they are a driving force for change. In the movement to ensure a future and nation that works for all, community organizers have emerged as the real MVPs. While Black and Brown organizers have modeled extreme heroism and dedication, much of their work has occurred with limited or nonexistent financial support. They are fighting for justice, yet they do so without significant philanthropic investment.
With the stroke of a pen less than a week after his inauguration, President Biden did something no amount of philanthropic dollars could accomplish. He signed four executive orders to combat racial inequity. In quick succession, these measures strengthened anti-discrimination housing policies, ceased new federal contracts with private prisons, increased tribal sovereignty, and initiated government efforts to fight xenophobia against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. These were just first steps toward the administration’s larger efforts to promote racial justice in the United States, but they should send a signal to philanthropy: All the increased giving to address systemic racism, as welcome as it is, can never substitute for the power and purse strings of the federal government. Nor should it.
Community members in Worcester, Massachusetts, including our grantee partner Worcester Interfaith and Schott's Programs & Advocacy Director Marianna Islam, are helping push city officials to take stronger steps against structural racism in the city. At the most recent city council meeting, residents voiced support for a report that recommends removing school resource officers from Worcester public schools, but urged a faster timeline and greater community oversight. This comes on the heels of a lawsuit filed by a coalition including Worcester Interfaith claiming the city's school committee elections system discriminates against communities of color.
Today we learned that Karen Lewis — educator, organizer, and pathbreaking labor leader — has passed away. She leaves us with a legacy of unwavering commitment to children, public education, and racial justice.
The Schott Foundation is proud to add our name, alongside our longtime partners and allies, to this open letter to Dr. Miguel Cardona, President Biden's pick for Secretary of Education. It's time to follow up on candidate Biden's promise on standardized tests: cancel the spring 2021 testing mandate.
Join us for #PhilanthropySoWhite to hear from three white philanthropy leaders about their progress, pain points and what's next in their journeys to create anti-racist organizations and giving practices.
Bishop Dr. William Barber’s homily at the Inaugural Prayer Service this morning was a powerful call to “break the chains of injustice,” to move America toward a Third Reconstruction. He proclaimed love is our salvation — love that must be proven in action. We rejoice in his inspiring words. And in his fierce movement-building leadership, grounded in love, of Repairers of the Breach and the Poor People’s Campaign.
Fueling the frontlines of social progress with philanthropic support is central to Schott’s strategy to advance racial justice in public education. In a year like no other, Schott’s 2020 grantmaking was more nimble, diverse, and participatory than ever before. Almost $2 million in philanthropic support went to the education justice movement: to continue our work with longstanding partners, to supply quickly-needed resources to mutual aid groups in the wake of COVID-19, and to seize the movement moment to help advocates win police-free schools. In addition to our direct grantmaking support, Schott staff supported our community partners in obtaining an additional $380,000 in support from other foundations.
2020 was a year of quarantines and lockdowns, historic elections and popular rebellions. But amid the difficulties, communities and advocates achieved some real wins. Here are eight policy victories from last year that we at Schott are carrying with us as inspiration for the struggles ahead.
The violent attack on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6, 2021 was a stark reminder of America’s historic tensions and struggles. The storming of the Capitol came amid a Pro-Trump protest, by a predominantly white and male group of domestic terrorists. Their white privilege assured they could go beyond the police barriers of perimeter and enter the Capitol Building. In the end, many people were injured and five killed, including a Capitol police officer.