Education

Education and Youth

Fri Aug 15, 2014

COPA leaders and their young children celebrated the breaking of ground at Acosta Plaza with shovels, stories and speeches. The story, the way Bibiana Alcala tells it, involved an important first phone call. ”Once our residents said they wanted a basketball court….we contacted COPA.”

Youth and community leaders of Acosta Plaza, in collaboration with other congregations of COPA, lobbied neighborhood associations, Mayor Gunter of Salinas and statewide community foundations to identify funding for the construction of a basketball court. The $100,000 construction project is the result of negotiation: Residents will assist COPA-member and affordable housing provider CHISPA in building the court while the City of Salinas and the California Endowment will help shoulder the costs.

Earlier this year, youth leveraged $500 from a local neighborhood association and then brought Mayor Gunter into the effort — framing the project as an opportunity to help young people in Salinas thrive. This week, construction begins. By October, the court will be ready for basketball.


Fri Mar 14, 2014

When parishioners of Resurrection Catholic Church, the newest member of TMO, learned that Port Houston Elementary School was in danger of closing, they went to their pastor.  Read more here...


Tue Sep 10, 2013

With a 7-0 vote, city council members approved the reallocation of $2.38 Million additional dollars in the 2013-2014 budget to workforce development and youth programs at parks, schools and libraries, even while decreasing the tax rate.  This money was added, at Austin Interfaith‘s urging, in the last two days of budget negotiations.  More here

Tue May 21, 2013

On May 21 2013, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed into law the Baltimore City School Construction and Revitalization Act of 2013, authorizing more than $1 billion for school construction and renovationthe single largest investment in Baltimore’s neighborhoods in more than 30 years. The effort to overhaul the city’s public school facilities will result in 15 new schools and more than 30 renovated schools across the city.  Nearly 140 of Baltimore city’s 162 school facilities are in poor or very poor condition, and although the district has made significant gains in enrollment and graduation rates over the last several years, Baltimore still lags behind the rest of the state. BUILD is committed that addressing the building needs will be a catalyst for education reforms to ensure Baltimore’s children achieve the highest expectations.

Through the Baltimore Education Coalition, BUILD helped unite the City and State to act on one goal: build schools, build Baltimore. As Michael Sarbanes, Executive Director of the Baltimore City Schools Office of Engagement, explains, “...but for BUILD the $1.1 billion could not have happened. But for your hard work, your willingness to stand up strong and move quickly, your network of relationships, your understanding of how to get things done, and above all your commitment to what Dr. King called “the fierce urgency of now” and to the principle that, “the children come first.” It bears saying again—renovating schools is the single biggest investment in our neighborhoods and our children in Baltimore’s history.”

Thu Dec 20, 2012

School board trustees of AISD voted unanimously to approve a full-scale in-district charter partnership for Travis Heights Elementary, to be managed by teachers, community members, the district’s labor group Education Austin, and Austin Interfaith.  In order for the idea to be voted on, school leaders first leveraged a 90% majority of support from its teachers and parents. The school’s leaders will have greater power over their budget and freedom to create alternative curricula and language programs.

Fri Nov 2, 2012

One thousand COPS/Metro Alliance leaders from 35 member institutions assembled to support a successful bid for a sales tax increase that would raise $248 Million in funding for Pre-K education in San Antonio over 8 years.  In collaboration with Mayor Julian Castro, COPS / Metro Alliance leaders urged voters to pass the 1/8 cent sales tax increase in order to expand Pre-K through centers located throughout the city.  Institutional leaders organized voter turnout efforts in their congregations and neighborhoods.    

Thu Nov 1, 2012

With the promise of the California DREAM Act still a year away, COPA leaders launched a 2012 campaign to bring financial help to undocumented college students in their community.  $150,000 raised from businesses leveraged an additional $150,000 from UC Santa Cruz, allowing COPA and its partners to provide $300,000 in assistance in advance of the law.

Sat Jun 16, 2012

Working alongside partners Transform Baltimore, the Baltimore Education Coalition and Child First, on Monday, June 10 BUILD won passage of a new bottle tax to be dedicated to school construction. This was a long, hard battle for Baltimorechildren. The bottle tax alone will generate $10 million a year that will service $155 million in bond funding, which will be used in 2013 to start building and modernizing at least 10 elementary schools while creating 1200 new jobs. With the Mayor's existing city funding and future slots revenue, this will generate $300 million in total school construction funding. This is a significant down payment on fighting for the $2.8 billion needed now to build new and modernize all of Baltimore schools. 

Next, BUILD will unite the Mayor, the City Council, the Corporate Community, the bottlers and all of Baltimore to stand with our children and demand that the State and City invest in delivering $2.8 billion to rebuild Baltimore schools and generate thousands of jobs.  BUILD and its allies will meet with the bottle industry to launch a Buy Baltimore - 5 cents for our Kids Campaign, encouraging all of us to continue to buy beverages in the City of Baltimore to support local businesses and school construction. 

Thu May 17, 2012

When Valley Interfaith Project leaders learned that there was no additional funding planned for after-school programs in the initial version of the city's budget proposal they pressured Phoenix officials to reinstate services for children and youth.  In response to community pressure, officials voted to restore $6 Million in funding for after-school programs, pools and libraries.

Sun Sep 18, 2011

BUILD recognized a need for after-school programs and more parental involvement, so we created the Child First program, today an independent entity that serves 1,400 youth.

Mon Aug 15, 2011

In 2010, EQUAL launched the Rochdale Early Advantage Charter School (REACS), the only charter school in a neighborhood with few quality school choices.  The school will provide 110 kindergarten, first and second grade students an excellent education, and will eventually expand to serve 235 students.  EQUAL leaders are working to secure a new building, which will be needed as the school grows.


Thu Aug 11, 2011

South Bronx Churches,  a coalition of neighborhood congregations, nonprofit agencies and tenant and homeowner groups, imagined and organized for a modern four-school campus at Mott Haven, now serving over 2000 children with a world-class education in some of the nation's top educational facilities. The new schools campus opened its doors in September 2010 on a seven-acre site at East 153rd Street and Concourse Village West. The $250 million project is the single largest school construction plan in the history of New York City. 


Thu Apr 14, 2011

 BUILD organized with MD IAF and the Baltimore Education Coalition (BEC) to restore $18 million in state funding for Baltimore schools and $94 million state-wide. BUILD joined BEC to meet with legislators in Annapolis, testify at hearings, make phone calls and emails, and helped turnout 2000 parents, students, and teachers on a rainy night to call for restoring the cuts. 


Wed Feb 2, 2011

The Jeremiah Group in New Orleans first brought forth 25 parents with gifted children that had been denied admissions to advanced academies in the Jefferson parish.  After several months of challenging the lack of transparency and irregularities of the admissions process, evidence emerged that school board members wrote letters supporting the admission of certain children, leading the Superintendent to step down.

Within eight months the Jefferson Parish School Board passed new protocols putting testing and admissions under central control, ensuring that student test scores (and not political connections) are the determining factor in admissions to schools for high-performing students.  Jeremiah Group advocated for these changes, thus simplifying the process and making it more accessible to all parents.

Wed Oct 14, 2009

The Alliance Schools Initiative grew out of relationships between member institutions in the local Texas IAF organizations and public schools in their neighborhoods. The Texas Network took relational organizing principles into low income communities to engage parents and community in the transformation of their schools.  This model of school organizing has been replicated by other West and Southwest IAF organizations, and has been widely recognized by both the public and private sector as a successful strategy for community engagement and student achievement. Most recently, a study by the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University credits Austin Interfaith’s work with area Alliance Schools for increasing student achievement on standardized tests by an average of 15-19%, as well as for improving professional culture and parent involvement at the campuses. In fact, the Annenberg study found that Austin Interfaith’s work with the schools benefited not only those particular campuses, but resulted in substantial new resources for all high poverty, low-performing schools in the district.

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In the News


Head Start, Transportation, Jobs, Board of Education

PATH Asks BOE to Improve Head Start Transportation

Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Baltimore Sun

"My boss told me I need to choose between my children and my job," Martinez said Tuesday during a forum People Acting Together in Howard, or PATH, held to urge board of education and county executive candidates to support PATH initiatives. Among those initiatives are bringing Head Start transportation under the auspices of the Howard County Public School System transportation department.

PATH is a countywide...


Child Poverty, Mayoral Race, Immigration, Affordability, Secure Communities

Austin Interfaith Challenges Mayoral Candidates to Address Child Poverty

Thursday, September 18, 2014
Austin Monitor & Austin Chronicle

Decrying a municipal child poverty rate of 30% that overshadows even Texas' overall poverty rate, 300 Austin Interfaith leaders confronted candidates with the challenge of investing more in early education and supports for families, in addition to affordability in the City.  More below.


California IAF, Community Organizing in Salinas, Acosta Plaza, CHISPA, Tim McManus

COPA Leaders Break Ground for Basketball Court in Salinas, CA

Friday, August 15, 2014
The Californian

The story, according to Bibiana Alcala, involves an important first phone call.  ”Once our residents said they wanted a basketball court….we contacted COPA.”

COPA leaders and their young children celebrated the breaking of ground at Acosta Plaza with shovels, stories and speeches....


VOICE, Community Organizing in Oklahoma, OEA, State Superintendent, Kris King

OK State Supt. Overthrown; Voters Back VOICE Friendly Candidates

Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Various

State Superintendent candidates that skipped VOICE-OKC's assembly earlier this month are probably regretting that move.  Tuesday election results showed that the two candidates that blew off VOICE's 1,500 leader assembly lost their primaries by huge margins.


Westchester United, Community Organizing in New York, Community Organizing in Westchester, New York IAF, Kindergarten

Kindergarten Rally Draws 300 to New Rochelle

Monday, June 16, 2014
Lohud Journal News

Last week, supporters of a grass-roots effort to require kindergarten in New York rallied at St. Gabriel's Catholic Church in New Rochelle to call on the state legislators to support a bill that would d just that. The group, Westchester United, drew nearly 300 people to the church to thank state Sen. Jeff Klein for his support for Assembly bill 5786 and Senate bill S5056 and to ask other legislators to follow suit.


VOICE-OKC, Community Organizing in Oklahoma, Community Organizing in OK City, Kris King, State Superintendent

1,500 VOICE-OKC Leaders Challenge OK State Candidates on Schools

Monday, June 9, 2014
Fox News

After six months of community meetings on high-stakes testing and its many direct and indirect effects on students, parents, and teachers across Oklahoma, 1,500 leaders assembled to share what they learned with candidates for OK State Superintendent.  


Community Organizing in Oklahoma, Community Organizing in Oklahoma City, Kris King, Greater Mount Olive Baptist Church, State Superintendent Janet Barresi

Black Clergy of VOICE-OKC Challenge Oklahoma State Supt.

Saturday, May 24, 2014
The Oklahoman

In collaboration with the other member institutions of VOICE-OKC, black clergy issued a public invitation to Oklahoma State Superintendent Janet Barresi (and her 6 opponents) to participate in an accountability session over high-stakes testing and the quality of public education in the state...


East Brooklyn Congregations, Community Organizing in New York, Metro IAF, Rev. Hoffman, Adriane Williams

EBC: DeBlasio Administration Should Allocate More to Rehab Parks

Sunday, May 18, 2014
NY Daily News

The mayor's allocation of $80 million in capital funding for neighborhood parks is a good start, but far too many New Yorkers live near parks with dark concrete lots, muddy athletic fields and broken down jungle gyms...


Parks, Recreational Facilities, Wisconsin IAF, Community Organizing in Milwaukee, Community Organizing in Wisconsin

Common Ground Release Video: "Play It Forward"

Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Common Ground Fair Play Campaign

Fair Play is a campaign to foster greatness in public spaces.  It is Common Ground's position that if public funds are used to build a new Bradley Center arena, then at least $150 million of these funds must be used to improve Milwaukee County public schools athletic facilities and recreational spaces.


Community Organizing in Texas, Texas IAF, Community Organizing in Houston, Bishop Fiorenza, Liz Valdez, Fr. Chris Plant

Archbishop Fiorenza Cheers Church's Work with TMO for Schools

Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Houston Chronicle

"I want to ...congratulate parishioners of Divina Providencia Church, its pastor, Father Chris Plant, the parents of the children, and Neighbors in Action for working with The Metropolitan Organization (TMO) to keep Port Houston open.

They have demonstrated Pope Francis’ exhortation for parishes to get involved in the community."


higher ed, community college, Economic Development, Lady Carlson, state budget

NCLI Schools Louisiana Public: Education = Jobs + Growth

Friday, February 14, 2014
The News-Star

Leaders from Northern and Central Louisiana Interfaith hosted a forum in collaboration with several university presidents in order to build a constituency for state investments in higher education... 


Milwaukee, Athletic Facilities, Youth, Common Ground, Organizing in Wisconsin, Keisha Krumm

Common Ground Still Pushing for Better Athletic Facilities

Monday, January 27, 2014
Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel

As work and discussion begin on the arduous and controversial process of planning for a new multipurpose arena or renovating the BMO Harris Bradley Center, Common Ground, a well-organized community organization, is reminding stakeholders of its own mission.

The organization, with members who belong to churches, small businesses, nonprofits and neighborhood groups, says it hasn't wavered from its stand that if public funds are dedicated to a new arena, then at least $150 millon of those funds must be used to improve Milwaukee County public schools athletic facilities and recreational spaces.

 


Pre-K Funding, Education, Taxes, Inequality, Governor Cuomo, Michael Gecan

Gecan Quoted in NYT Piece on Pre-K Funding

Thursday, January 23, 2014
New York Times

Andrew M. Cuomo arrived at The New York Times in an expansive mood on Wednesday. Reporters being reporters, they barraged him with the usual, “Hey, you going to let New York’s new mayor tax the wealthy in pursuit of prekindergarten” questions....


Lottery Scholarship Fund, College, Public Schools, Kip Bobroff, New Mexico IAF, Social Justice

Albuquerque Interfaith Fights to Save Scholarship Fund

Monday, October 21, 2013
Albuquerque Journal

Marta Parra told her oldest daughter she could never go to college because they didn’t have enough money – Parra hadn’t yet heard of the state’s lottery scholarship.  Now Parra’s younger daughter, a high school student, may not be able to attend either because the lottery scholarship could be reduced as soon as next year due to insufficient funds.


community organizing in Arizona, NAIC, Education, Secretary of State, Interfaith, Social Justice

North AZ Interfaith Rises to Challenge of AZ Education Funding Crisis

Friday, September 27, 2013
The Daily Courier

Northern Arizona Interfaith Council and about 800 teachers, school staff and community members, including business owners, filled the Mile High Middle School auditorium Wednesday night to talk about school funding for the three districts in the quad-city area...Special guests at the meeting included Secretary of State Ken Bennett, Rep. Karen Fann, and Prescott Valley Commercial Development Group chairman.


community organizing, Social Justice, Human Capital Development, Economic Development, Alinsky, Interfaith

Austin Leaders Leverage $2.38 Million for Youth & Young Adults

Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Austin American Statesman & others

Austin Interfaith worked from the ground up to get its priorities included in the budget….It represents the interests of low-income families and has become a familiar presence at City Hall in recent years. Austin Interfaith leaders mobilized members to show up en masse to city budget hearings to plug these programs, meet with council members and bombard council offices with calls and emails in the days leading up to the final budget vote. The nonprofit was elated that council members agreed to spend money on all of Austin Interfaith’s priorities, totaling $2.4 million.”


Community Organizing for School Reform, Institutional Organizing, Public Schools, Nuns

Predatory Learning

Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Boston Review

Several months ago, on a damp gray afternoon, I found myself sitting in a coffee shop in downtown Racine, Wisconsin, just a few blocks from the Lake Michigan shoreline. That weekend a colleague and I would be conducting a leadership training session with teachers, parents, and community leaders...


Education

School facilities bill grew from grass roots

Monday, May 20, 2013
Baltimore Sun

Michael Dresser got it right in describing the trajectory of the Baltimore school facilities bill as going from "non-starter to law," but the story goes far beyond the elected and appointed officials who worked hard to make the deals and shepherd the legislation to passage ("City schools bill a political showpiece," May 17).

The deeper story must include the herculean efforts of the Baltimore Education Coalition (BEC), the innovative policy advocacy work done by the ACLU of Maryland and the powerful community organizing of groups like BUILD and Child First. Our elected officials don't do this by themselves. They were propelled to act by the incredible urgency and public will created by the BEC. BEC made the problem of broken-down, substandard schools real, laid out a vision for a solution and created the imperative so elected officials had to act.

Over the last three years, BEC organized hundreds of meetings in schools, neighborhoods and churches to train and mobilize leaders. Coalition members held dozens of meetings with elected officials, gaining commitments that decent school buildings would be their number one priority for 2013. BEC organized huge rallies in Annapolis including February's 3,000-person rally for new and renovated schools.


Education

Common Ground backs plan to update school athletic facilities

Monday, April 22, 2013
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Members of Common Ground, a community organization of churches, small businesses, nonprofits and neighborhood groups, on Sunday soundly backed a new initiative to upgrade school athletic facilities in Milwaukee County. The initiative is called the Fair Play Campaign. In a statement backed by more than 450 delegates, the group said it would propose designating a minimum of $150 million from any public financing plan for a new multipurpose arena to replace the BMO Harris Bradley Center. The funds would be used to upgrade Milwaukee County public school athletic facilities and recreational spaces. "Today we are changing the conversation about how our monies are spent and what our priorities are," said Jennifer O'Hear, a parent of three children, two of whom are enrolled in the Milwaukee Public Schools.


Education

Thousands rally in Annapolis for billions to renovate, rebuild 65 Baltimore schools

Tuesday, March 5, 2013
The Washington Post

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Thousands of Baltimore City families petitioned lawmakers for billions in funding to renovate or rebuild about 65 of the school district’s crumbling buildings. Parents, students, teachers and community leaders rallied in Annapolis Monday evening for legislation that would create a block grant each year in the state budget for the city’s schools, enabling the city to leverage that to borrow more money. Supporters say the measure would create more than $1 billion to remodel the dilapidated infrastructure of several schools. Legislation has been filed in Annapolis to create the program.


Education

Promises to keep: Seven mayoral candidates make school reform pledges, and many are underwhelming

Sunday, March 3, 2013
New York Daily News

At the mayoral forum sponsored last week by the Daily News and the Metro IAF citizens organization, Democrat Bill Thompson got to the heart of why we pressed the candidates to detail plans for the schools. He asked: “What defines success, not just in four years, each year. The chancellor and mayor need to be held accountable for that. We need to put that forward.” With very mixed success, the seven-member field attempted to accomplish that goal in front of an audience of about 1,000 New Yorkers gathered at Manhattan’s Central Synagogue.


Education

Thousands rally in support of Baltimore schools

Tuesday, February 26, 2013
The Baltimore Sun

Supporters of a $2.4 billion plan to rebuild Baltimore's crumbling schools made a show of support in Annapolis on Monday night as thousands of people staged a loud, festive rally outside the State House to urge passage of legislation to launch the program. Teachers, students, parents and others described deplorable conditions in city schools — ranging from disgusting bathrooms and broken windows to stifling classrooms and inadequate computer labs — as they called upon lawmakers to provide the resources to rebuild the state's oldest school buildings. "We're not asking for charity. We're not asking for a handout," said Yasmene Mumby, co-chairwoman of the Baltimore Education Coalition, which organized the rally. "We're asking to use existing state funds to renovate and reconstruct our school buildings efficiently, effectively and in a smarter way."


Community Organizing in New Mexico, Organizing in Albuquerque, organizing for urban school reform, organizing for public schools

Albuquerque Interfaith Challenges 'Trojan Horses' Undermining Schools

Friday, February 15, 2013
Albuquerque Journal

In the legend of the Trojan horse, Greeks capture Troy not by siege, but by stealth, under the cover of darkness, when raiders hidden in the hollow horse bring its downfall.

This is an apt metaphor for how public education in New Mexico is being privatized.


Charter Schools, Public Schools, Community Organizing in New Mexico, Community Organizing in Albuquerque, organizing for urban school reform

NM Bill Would Bar Private Firms From Running Public Schools

Friday, February 15, 2013
New Mexican

Rep. Mimi Stewart and Sen. Linda Lopez, both Albuquerque Democrats, joined the Rev. Trey Hammond of Albuquerque Interfaith, a faith-based community organizing effort, as well as a coalition of parents, students and public-school supporters, at a news conference Tuesday to announce the introduction of House Bill 460.


Education

Austin Interfaith In-District Charter Proposal Wins Unanimous Support

Friday, January 18, 2013
Five Publications in Austin

"School board members have lauded the process that Travis Heights used to garner support for the transformation, which they approved last month.  Unlike the district’s failed partnership with [another charter school]… the move to turn Travis Heights into a charter school had the enthusiastic backing of the school’s parents and teachers, joined by Austin Interfaith and Education Austin."


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