After a hard fight, Together Baton Rouge and allies won a salary increase for every teacher, para-professional, bus operator or other East Baton Rouge school district employee with two or more years at the district.
According to The Advocate:
"As they have at several previous meetings, employee groups — Louisiana Association of Educators, the Louisiana Federation of Teachers, Service Employees International Union and the East Baton Rouge Bus Driver’s Association — pressed once again for raises for all the district employees. The groups have joined forces with the faith-based group Together Baton Rouge to press the issue as well as to push the school system to reject all future requests from manufacturers for property tax breaks via the state’s 80-year-old Industrial Tax Exemption Program. They want the school system to use any ITEP savings to increase employees pay."
Leaders commended the school board and Superintendent Drake for this action, while acknowledging that more work remains to be done to secure salaries. In their words: "this was a big, big step."
[Photo Credit: The Advocate]
EBR School Board OK's $473M Budget, The Advocate [pdf]
Leaders testifying at the school board meeting were supported by dozens of parents and community leaders inspiring one leader to say, "It makes me want to cry to see so many people standing up together for children - as I've stood alone with parents so often with no resolution."Read more
Only one month after raising municipal wages for the second year in a row in San Antonio, COPS / Metro is now fighting to leverage necessary funding for school improvements...$450 Million, to be precise. Elaine Ayala of the San Antonio Express-News reported that two weekends before Election Day, dozens of COPS / Metro leaders block walked -- asking voters to scroll to the end of the ballot to the last two measures. Leader Maria Tijerina explained that TRE funds would support after-school, summer and enrichment programs, freeing up money to help the district reach the $15 / hour wage they are fighting for.Read more
Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance & 'Nevadans for the Common Good' Join Forces for $430M Business Tax Proposal
One week prior, 'Nevadans for the Common Good' met with the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance at Holy Spirit Lutheran Church in Las Vegas; both organizations voted to support the business license proposal. LVGEA cited a study it had commissioned on the impact of the business license fee proposal, which concluded that the "negligible negative impact" in Southern Nevada would be far outweighed by the benefits of improved public schools.Read more
The Alliance Schools Initiative grew out of relationships between member institutions in the local Texas IAF organizations and the 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 to improve student achievement. Texas IAF Network leaders built on the success of the Alliance Schools strategy to create the Investment Capital Fund, a $9 million competitive state grant to support school restructuring in collaboration with community organizations.
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.
Independent Studies:Organized Communities, Stronger Schools: Impact of Community and Youth Organizing on Public School Reform, Annenberg Institute (May 2009).
In the Words of Executive Director Ernesto Cortes, Jr.:
Metis and the Metrics of Success I Used to Thinkâ€¦And Now I Thinkâ€¦ Edited by Richard Elmore. Cambridge: Harvard Education Press (2011).
Quality Education as a Civil Right: Reflections Quality Education as a Constitutional Right: Creating a Grassroots Movement to Transform Public Schools. Edited by Theresa Perry, Robert Moses, Joan Wynne, Ernesto Cortes, Jr. and Lisa Delpit. Boston: Beacon Press (2011).
Click here for further reading on W/SWIAF school strategies