NATIONAL PROGRESSIVE EDUCATION GROUPS & INDIVIDUALS
Rev. Dr. William Barber
Education Opportunity Network
Jeff Bryant's blog about current education policy and activism. (www.educationopportunitynetwork.org)
Jennifer Berkshire's blog incisively skewering and illuminating current education policy fiascoes and their effects on students, teachers, and communities. (www.edushyster.com)
BOSTON-AREA PROGRESSIVE EDUCATION GROUPS
Black Educators’ Alliance of Massachusetts (BEAM)
Black Educators’ Alliance of Massachusetts (BEAM) supports Black educators in their efforts to improve the academic performance of all students, particularly students of color by sharing best practices, maintaining a network of educators of color, developing strategies to overcome barriers to student academic development, and being a voice for quality and equity in education. Members of BEAM helped to create BPS’s racial achievement gap policy. Recent work has involved raising concerns about: school closures in communities of color, putting 7th & 8th graders on the T, lack of adequate diversity in the teaching force, and opposition to student assignment plans that cut off access to quality schools. Membership is open to teachers, administrators, parents and students. (www.beaminfo.org; 617-510-2281)
Boston Education Justice Alliance (BEJA)
Boston Education Justice Alliance (BEJA) is an alliance of youth, students, educators, parents, caretakers, school staff, and community members who are deeply tied to the neighborhoods of Boston and directly affected by public education. BEJA is committed to building a stronger and better public school system that is driven by community voices. By engaging all communities in Boston and building power through unity, the coalition hopes to work with elected and appointed officials and hold them accountable to the actual needs and desires of the communities served by Boston Public Schools. BEJA’s platform includes: smaller class size, education of the whole child; wrap-around services; early education; diverse, culturally competent, collaborative educators, fully funded special needs and English-language education; quality facilities; student, family & community engagement, & full funding through fair taxation. Alliance of youth, union, parent & community organizations & individuals. Recent work includes opposing lifting the cap on charter schools, opposing school closures in the community, opposing high stakes testing, seeking full & equitable funding for BPS and all urban public schools, and creating schools our communities deserve. (www.bostonedjustice.org; Marlena Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Boston Student Advisory Council (BSAC)
Boston Student Advisory Council (BSAC) Youth on Board co-administers the Boston Student Advisory Council (BSAC) with the Office of Engagement of the Boston Public Schools. BSAC is a citywide body of elected student leaders representing most BPS high schools. BSAC works to identify and address pertinent student issues, thereby putting students at the center of the decisions that affect them the most. BSAC students have led organizing efforts, forged relationships with district and city-leaders, impacted policy change, and transformed school culture across the board. BSAC has played a key role in advising the School Committee and the Superintendent on district policy, working with the Headmasters on student climate issues, and informing students of their rights and responsibilities under district rules. Over the last 10 years BSAC has worked on issues and informed policy changes such as: Punctuality Policy, Homework Policy, Cell Phone Policy, Teacher Evaluation & Hiring, Student Government, School Safety, BPS Budget and School Quality. (www.youthonboard.org; email@example.com; 617-741-1242)
Boston Area Youth Organizing Project (BYOP)
Boston Area Youth Organizing Project (BYOP) is an organization of youth, led by youth and supported by adults, who are united by a common purpose: to increase youth power and create positive social change. To do this, BYOP develops counter-cultural values, builds relationships across differences, trains and develops leaders, identifies key issues of concern and takes action for justice. BYOP's goals are to improve the lives of young people, increase real political participation and build community. BYOP is part of the National Campaign for Quality Education, Save our Schools coalition, the Alliance for Education Justice, and BEJA. Recent work includes the development of restorative justice policy alternatives to punitive school discipline & suspension/expulsion, opposition to high stakes testing, safety and affordable access to the MBTA, & opposition to criminalization and murders of black youth. (www.byop.org; 617-262-1895)
Both BYOP & BSAC are members of YOUNG: Youth Organizers United for the Now Generation which is fighting for a youth vision of education in which youth voices significantly impact education policy, education is student, not test-centered, with a rich, broad curriculum, made safe by restorative justice and peer mediation systems, with strong and supportive community partnerships, with equitable, full funding for public, not private for-profit charter schools, with unionized teachers and staff. (http://www.youthonboard.org/#!young-coalition/c1rt1; coalition.YOUNG@gmail.com)
Boston Teachers Union (BTU)
Boston Teachers Union (BTU) is a community of educators that believes all students can succeed and deserve a quality education that meets their diverse needs. BTU advocates for justice and equity in the communities it serves and for the members it represents. As one of the leading urban school districts in the country, BTU is committed to building on professionalism, experience, and teamwork to serve all students in Boston and strengthen our public schools.
The BTU has organizing committees related to: Special Ed Inclusion, English Language Learners, Restorative Justice, History and Social Studies, Visual and Performing Arts, Less Testing More Learning, and LGBTQ Advocacy. (www.btu.org, BTU: 617-288-2000, BTU Organizing Director: Jessica Tang, JTang@btu.org)
Citizens for Public Schools (CPS)
Citizens for Public Schools' (CPS) mission is to promote, preserve and protect public schools and public education. CPS opposes any political or social initiative that seeks to infringe on or endanger such a vital resource as our public schools. CPS works closely with FairTest, the National Center for Fair and Open Testing. CPS goals include:
- Keep public resources for public schools under public control in innovative, inclusive, democratically accountable schools.
- Increase funding to ensure high quality public schools for all children.
- Ensure equal access and educational opportunities for every child.
- Guarantee every student a well-rounded public education that meets the needs of the whole child.
- Implement multiple forms of assessment to evaluate and improve student learning and the quality of schools.
CPS has launched a state-wide Less Testing, More Learning MA Campaign to roll back high-stakes testing in Massachusetts, end the punitive consequences of such tests and affirm the right of parents to opt their children out of these tests.(www.citizensforpublicschools.org; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com).
Citywide Parent Council of Boston Public Schools (CPC)
Citywide Parent Council of Boston Public Schools (CPC), made up of current BPS parent volunteers, is the umbrella organization of all the school parent councils in the BPS, is the “officially recognized voice” of BPS parents and seeks to be a critical friend of the BPS and the Boston School Committee. CPC representatives help to oversee the school site councils and recently served on public panels to interview candidates for superintendent. CPC advocates for the interests of students and families within BPS and helps to create more engaged parent communities within BPS. (www.citywideparentcouncil.org)
Coalition for Equal, Quality Education (CEQE)
Coalition for Equal, Quality Education (CEQE) is dedicated to building a community, labor, parent, teacher and student led coalition to strengthen public K-12 education by organizing to: eliminate the opportunity to learn gap (achievement gap) and improve the quality of public education, demand full funding for public schools, stop the private corporate take-over of public education via for-profit charter schools, defend workers’ rights, insure equitable access to quality education & safe school bus transportation, and increase parent, teacher, student and community voice in educational policy and practice. CEQE is an ever-evolving, racially and culturally diverse, independent grassroots network of groups, organizations, and individuals, including parents, students, educators, public school employees, community members and activists. Recent work has included opposition to student assignment zone plans that reduce equal access to quality education, support for the Boston school bus union in its struggle with the global Veolia/Transdev Corporation, keeping middle school students safe & off the MBTA, development of the BEJA coalition, joining the campaign against high stakes testing, opposing school closures in communities of color, and opposing lifting the cap on charter schools. (For further information contact chair, Sandra2.McIntosh@gmail.com)
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice (LCCR)
Education through litigation and policy advocacy, the Education Project works to ensure that all Massachusetts schoolchildren have equal access to a high quality education. LCCR’s recent education advocacy includes concerns about: lifting the cap on charter schools, school closings, punitive school discipline, teacher diversity, cuts in school bus transportation of middle school students, transfer of military grade weapons to school districts.The Lawyers’ Committee is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan legal organization that provides pro bono legal representation to victims of discrimination based on race or national origin. The Committee’s mission is to provide a safeguard for the civil, social, and economic liberties of residents in Greater Boston and throughout Massachusetts. LCCR handles major law reform cases as well as legal actions on behalf of individuals. It also engages in public policy advocacy, community legal education, community economic development, and other legal services that further the cause of civil rights.
Massachusetts Advocates for Children (MAC)
Massachusetts Advocates for Children is an independent and effective voice for children who face significant barriers to equal educational and life opportunities, particularly those who have disabilities, are low income and/or are racially, culturally, or linguistically diverse. MAC works to overcome these barriers by changing conditions for many children, while also helping one child at a time. (www.massadvocates.org, 617-357-8431)
Quality Education for Every Student (Quest)
Quality Education for Every Student (Quest) is a volunteer, grassroots organization of parents who work towards quality, equity and transparency in Boston's public schools. The group came together in the summer of 2012, sharing concerns about the equity of proposed changes to the BPS assignment process. Current work includes defining and supporting quality education in all schools; establishing sufficient and equitable funding; promoting equity in facilities and long-range district planning; and maintaining publicly and democratically controlled public schools.
Teacher Activist Group Boston (TAG)
Teacher Activist Group Boston (TAG) is a coalition of educators from greater Boston who believe education is essential to human liberation. TAG is committed to working alongside youth and other members of the community to dismantle oppressive practices in schools and society. TAG creates and shares curriculum and practices; organizes teachers; collaborates with parents, youth, and community members; unpacks, influences, and creates policy; creates anti-oppressive environments and practices that support and nurture activists. TAG Boston is also a part of the National Network of Teacher Activist Groups and has adopted the national TAG platform, see: Network of Teacher Activist Groups website. (www.tagboston.org; firstname.lastname@example.org).
USW 8751 Boston School Bus Drivers Union
USW 8751 Boston School Bus Drivers Union is a democratic, rank & file run, activist union that has a history of alliance with communities of color and other progressive organizations in the struggle against racism in the BPS and in society at large, opposes corporate control over education and other policy arenas, has been a strong ally of youth in their struggles with the education, transportation and criminal justice systems, and is currently locked in a life & death struggle with the global corporation, Veolia/Transdev, which has a history of violating labor and community rights around the world. Veolia has violated the contractual rights of hundreds of bus drivers, created a company lockout in the fall of 2013 which was incorrectly broadcasted as a “wild-cat strike” by the mayor, BPS & the media, and fired four union leaders, who are still out of work, in their effort to crush the union. USW 8751 has always stood by other unions and community groups in their struggles and now need the support of these same union and community groups. (Contact newly elected union president, Andre Francois, or SteveK@iacboston.org)