The latest from the Schott Foundation and our allies.
A rising tide of Black, Brown and Indigenous community organizing has delivered liberatory and anti-racist education to students across the country over the past decade. Their impressive advances for public school children are now under attack by reactionary forces seeking to foment division and advance their political agendas. The threats are escalating, including legislation in multiple states making it illegal to teach an accurate portrayal of the racial injustice in our nation’s history. At the same time, federal relief dollars are pouring into local school systems and communities are organizing to direct that funding to racial equity and culturally responsive curricula. Education transformation is increasingly possible in this moment, but philanthropy must act quickly and boldly to help realize that potential.
This year is the tenth anniversary of Black Philanthropy Month (BPM). The BPM Summit will engage participants in a convening across five regions with a slate of world-renowned leaders in philanthropy, social investment, venture capital and more. All communities across the world are invited to join in making equity real. Schott President Dr. John H. Jackson will speak at the event along with Ford Foundation President Darren Walker, Puerto Rico Community Foundation President Dr. Nelson Colón, and other philanthropic leaders.
Over the past year, much of the nation’s education discussion has been where learning was taking place: on Zoom? In the classroom? Both? While COVID-19 exacerbated existing inequities around access, focus is now being drawn to what students are learning. Debate over curriculum isn’t new, but has been contested in varying degrees for decades. Before the right-wing-stoked controversy over so-called “Critical Race Theory” there were debates over Common Core standards, and before that No Child Left Behind. What is new is the incredible strides parent and community organizing has made in shifting the curriculum of the nation’s largest school district.
The massive, downright Dickensian difference in funding between schools that sometimes are mere blocks from each other has been a hallmark of New York's public education system for generations. Until this past spring, when everything changed. What caused a massive policy shift — worth billions of dollars — in the face of a seemingly permanent funding crisis?
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 they faced, we're especially proud of the Class of 2021 graduates, their families, and the dedicated educators and support staff who helped millions of students successfully complete the school year.
The scale of the broad federal funding in the American Rescue Plan (ARP) presents an opportunity for transformative change – but only if funds are invested to address systemic racism and advance equity. This requires sustained organizing to ensure accountability and community participation to direct investments – and ongoing, transparent structures to incorporate community input.
Two weeks ago, Schott convened our Opportunity to Learn Network, including policy experts and veteran education justice organizers, to provide an overview of the American Rescue Plan and a detailed roadmap for community members to have a say in allocation of the funds.
The Journey for Justice Alliance (J4J) just launched its new Quality of Life Agenda initiative, as part of its Equity or Else campaign. By encompassing not just the school but the community that surrounds it, this initiative could be a pivotal for the education justice movement in a moment when federal resources are available to kickstart such an ambitious agenda.
The next few months are pivotal in determining whether the billions of dollars in the federal recovery funds move us toward education justice, or increase race, gender, and class inequities.
The time is now. For many of us in philanthropy, we have never seen a major policy expansion to support children and families like the President proposed last evening. But how did we arrive here, and how can philanthropy ensure more moments like this?