What we’re reading and who we know:
- Philadelphia Public School Notebook: An independent citywide newspaper providing up-to-date and analytical coverage of the Philadelphia public schools
- Pennsylvania School Funding Campaign: A coalition of statewide advocacy organization supporting a fair and equitable funding formula for schools
- Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center: Provides a full analysis of state budget issues, with a specific link to education spending statewide
- “National Report Card: Is School Funding Fair?“: A state by state report card on school funding ranking states by funding level, funding distribution, state efforts, and public school coverage. Where do you think PA lands?
- School Finance 101: A smart, funny and data driven blog by Dr. Bruce Baker at Rutgers University which breaks down school finance issues. Education’s Nate Silver?
- Stan Karp: The Corporate Reform Agenda: What do we mean when we talk about a “corporate reform” agenda vs. an educational agenda? Rethinking Schools’ Stan Karp breaks down the policies and proposals of corporate reformers driving failed educational experiments and undermining public education.
- A Parent’s Guide to the Broad Academy: A incisive look at the Broad Academy and its graduates, who are superintendents at many large urban districts. Philadelphia’s last three superintendents have all graduated from or lectured at the Broad Academy.
School closings & improving school buildings
- 21st Century Schools Fund: A website devoted to helping parents and communities build campaigns to rethink underutilized buildings and create options for modernizing school facilities. Includes manuals, tool kits and lots of resources. Read quotes from 21st Century Schools Fund President Mary Filardo and Parents United founder Cecelia Thompson to see just how different the vision is around school facilities in this Notebook news story.
Analysis of school closings’ impact on student achievement.
- “When Schools Close: Effects on Displaced Students in Chicago Public Schools”
Research Report October 2009
- Ford Secondary papers/documents
- Alternatives Needed to New York City Department of Education School Closure Policy by Norm Fruchter
Curriculum and quality instruction
- National Opportunity to Learn Campaign: An organization devoted to helping schools figure out the supports needed to ensure every child has access to a quality education.
- Rethinking Schools: A national social justice teaching journal and publisher of critical teaching and learning.
- Zinn Education Project: A wonderful website devoted to exploring a diverse multicultural people’s history of the U.S. in the vein of historian Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States
- FairTest: A preeminent site for the negative impact of high stakes testing on student achievement and learning. Full of data, studies and advocacy ideas.
School Climate and Safety
- Dignity in Schools Campaign: Seeks alternatives to push-out, zero tolerance and other policies contributing to the school to prison pipeline.
- Class Size Matters: A clearinghouse of information on the importance of lower class sizes. Although it focuses specifically on New York City, it contains lots of information, data and advocacy ideas on class size issues.
- Association of Philadelphia School Librarians: The official site representing the District’s librarians has some great research on the decline in school librarians and research on the links between school libraries and improved literacy.
- Committee of Seventy: A non-partisan government watchdog advocating for ethics and transparency in governance. Has recently engaged around major School District issues.
- Education Law Center: This 35-year old organization has successfully fought for the rights of Philadelphia students and families and specializes in school funding and services for special needs students and English language learners.
- Father’s Day Rally Committee: A grassroots organization and partner of Parents United promoting African American men to take action on behalf of their communities in order to effect positive change.
- Germantown Clergy Initiative: A faith organization and partner of Parents United promoting Christian support and partnership with the students, families and school community of Germantown High School.
- JUNTOS: A South Philadelphia based organization representing the interests of Philadelphia’s Mexican and other Latino populations. JUNTOS has an active parent group working to improve services and supports for English Language Learners
- Philadelphia Right to Education Task Force: RTF is a parent-led advocacy partner representing the voices of families of special needs students
- Philadelphia Student Union: A citywide student organizing group and a founder of the Campaign for Non-Violent Schools
- Public Citizens for Children and Youth: A regional organization dedicated to serving the needs of Pennsylvania children and youth
- Teacher Action Group: Philadelphia’s TAG chapter is dedicated to social justice unionism and making educators as leaders in school turnaround
- Youth United for Change: A citywide student organizing group focused on small schools and effecting change at local high schools
State advocacy groups
- Education Voters PA: A 501(c)(4) lobbying group representing the political and electoral interests of public education supporters
- Keystone State Education Coalition: A statewide network supporting public education advocacy. It has one of the best news roundups statewide on public education.
- Yinzercation: A group of southwest PA parents fighting for quality public schools and writing an extraordinarily popular and influential blog.
National advocacy groups
- Parents Across America: A national parent advocacy organization linking parent organizers across the country to fight for progressive change in the national education agenda. This site is full of parent advocacy successes and up to date research on school reform.
- Diane Ravitch: This pro-public ed crusader leads the charge with her blog documenting the failures of corporate ed reform and highlighting public ed warriors building coalitions to champion our schools.
These resources are just a few of our suggestions. Please share your own inspirations!