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Issue Area: Education


Introduction

America’s public education system has long touted the promise of civic and economic opportunity. It is an institution that is meant to provide every individual -- no matter their background or means -- the knowledge and skills they need to make their way in the world. Roosevelters believe the best possible education system is a robust public one, equipped with resources, support, and the ability to meet the distinct needs of its students. Specifically, we see public education:

  • as a tool for individuals to realize their full potential as civic, social, and economic actors
  • as foundational to economic and social mobility
  • as accessible and equitable in outcomes
  • as an institution that identifies and addresses racial, residential, and economic inequality

How

Here's a look at the types of policy projects or campaigns you could undertake in the Education Issue Area: 

  • Work at the state level to adjust charter laws to:
      • Cap the amount of charter school growth in the state by adding provisions into the law
      • Minimize the number of charter authorizers in order to ensure greater oversight and regulation of charter schools
      • Fight against automatic exemptions from state and district laws and regulations
      • Regulate the type of charter schools allowed
      • Ensure transparent application, renewal, and evaluation processes are in place
      • Mandate charter oversight comes from local school board
      • Regulate charter boards to oversight of only one school
      • Require unionization of charter teachers
      • etc.
  • To ensure public oversight of education, fight against voucher programs and the use of public money to send students to private schools that operate outside the laws and regulations established for public ones.
  • Lobby decision-makers to invest in public institutions by pushing for greater higher education funding at the city and state level.
  • Align with groups like Debt Collective to fight against the problematic practices of for-profit education.
  • Push for the desegregation of schools in your city.
  • Implement equitable funding for public schools at the state or city level.

Active Campaigns

A look at some active campaigns fighting for the public good in Education across the nation: 

  • With a looming ballot referendum in Massachusetts on whether to expand charter school presence in the state by 12 schools per year, union-backed groups launched a media campaign in Boston to influence voters. The state overwhelmingly voted against the expansion. More info here and here.
  • The Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) is working around 40 national and local partners to increase the level of charter school accountability as part of their Holding Charter Schools Accountable Campaign. Working nationally with organizations including the teachers unions, CPD is researching the effects of lax charter school oversight and pushing for regulation that would hold charter schools to the same standards as traditional public schools.
  • Upset by the state of student debt in the country, in 2015 the “Corinthian 15” engaged in the first debt strike and refused to pay their student loans. Their name is a reference to the for-profit Corinthian College, Inc. which has faced legal trouble for its problematic practices. More info here.
  • Free CUNY is campaigning for New York State legislature to prioritize funding for higher education. CUNY used to be completely free for New Yorkers. New York residents, organizers, and educators are joining the Free CUNY movement.
  • In New York, public schools and charter schools often share building space in a practice called co-location. Parents whose students attend Bushwick public schools I.S. 349 and I.S. 347 fought back against expansion of the Achievement First charter school in their building.
  • Three bills have been introduce in California that seek to regulate charter schools: 
    • Assembly Bill 1360 would prohibit discriminatory charter school admissions practices and ensure due process for all children in California’s public schools.
    • Assembly Bill 1478 would hold charter schools, and the entities managing charter schools, to the Brown Act (open meetings), Public Records Act (open books), and to two laws preventing conflicts of interest: Political Reform Act and Government Code 1090.
    • Senate Bill 808 would require that all charter school petitions must be approved by the school board of the school district in which they reside.

Roosevelt Examples

Some examples of Roosevelt student written policies advocating for the public good of our education systems: 

Active Organizations

Resources