Greetings DSC Members and Allies!
This year is off to an exciting start! There is a lot of work happening in Washington, DC with the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), and our members are at the forefront. In just over two months we will be convening in Chicago for our fourth Annual Membership Meeting where our membership will have the opportunity to come together to strategize, build skills, discuss important campaign decisions and make connections. If you have local campaign updates, events, or resources you would like to share through our e-newsletter email
ESEA Reauthorization and Upcoming School Climate Roundtable
Members of DSC are weighing in as the U.S. House and Senate discuss reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). On February 2, the DSC submitted a comment letter to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee as it finished its hearings with a round table discussion on ESEA. The comment letter calls for provisions to improve school climate and discipline practices and to ensure federal accountability in education. You can read the full letter here. A second comment letter was also submitted to Representative Kline, Chairman of the House's Education and the Workforce Committee, regarding his Student Success Act, H.R. 5, which you can read here.
We are also excited to announce that Senator Murphy of Connecticut will be hosting a roundtable on school climate in Washington D.C. on February 26, where DSC members will present on positive approaches to creating safe school climates. DSC members will be in Washington from February 25-27 to meet with members of Congress and the Administration about our priorities.
NAACP LDF Hosts Congressional Briefing on “Unlocking Opportunity”
On February 11, DSC member NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc. and the National Women’s Law Center hosted a Congressional Briefing in Washington DC to draw attention to barriers impacting education outcomes outlined in the report “Unlocking Opportunity for African-American Girls,” and to push for their recommendations in the reauthorization of ESEA. At the briefing, experts discussed how school policies and practices interfere with African American girls reaching their full potential. DSC members Zakiya Sankara-Jabar of Racial Justice Now! and Harold Jordan of ACLU Pennsylvania attended.
DSC Convenes in Los Angeles for Strategic Planning
On January 23, Dignity in Schools Campaign members from across the country convened in Los Angeles to discuss our campaign vision and goals at our Strategic Planning and Coordinating Committee Retreat. Members from California, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C came together for three days to begin developing elements of a 3-5 year strategic plan for the coalition. We discussed the root causes of school pushout, the barriers and challenges to organizing around the country, our vision for DSC and three-year goals for the coalition. Read more here. We will be sharing the ideas from the retreat with the full DSC membership at our Annual Member Meeting in Chicago this April.
COFI/POWER-PAC Speaks at Chicago Mayor's Conference on Youth Violence
On December 16, leaders from DSC member COFI/POWERPAC attended a press conference on the Mayor's Commission for a Safer Chicago Citywide Strategic Plan for Youth Violence for 2015. Leaders shared the importance of restorative justice with the commission and were highlighted as a model for schools across Chicago in a short video produced by the commission on parent-led peace rooms in schools. You can watch the video here.
Power U Center Demands Black Lives Matter
In late January DSC member Power U Center for Social Change led a call for a local Miami, FL police department to end the use of images of black men for target shooting practice. Power U led a rally at police headquarters and shut down a city council meeting where they voiced their demands. City council members and the police chief apologized for the use of the images and agreed to end the practice. They also agreed to have a community meeting to start looking into an investigation of the police department. Residents are pushing for a Civil Oversight Review Board instead of an internal investigation process.
On January 10, DSC Field Organizer, Fernando Martinez, joined DSC members Youth Organizing Institute, NC HEAT and the Education Justice Alliance in Wake County, NC for a full day workshop where members compared the Wake County Student Code of Conduct to the DSC Model Code on Education and Dignity. Following the workshop, DSC members will research School Resource Officers’ interactions with public schools in surrounding cities to compare them to Wake County, look for better documentation about how students and parents feel when students are pushed out of public schools, and intentionally develop a partnership with Teen Court programs in schools.
IN THE NEWS
Report Faults Charter School Rules on Discipline of Students
Elizabeth A. Harris, The New York Times, February 11, 2015
Long-awaited discipline policy changes further restrict suspensions, restraints
Geoff Decker and Stephanie Snyder, Chalkbeat NY, February 13, 2015
In the Nation's Capital, Fewer Than Half of Black Males Graduate From High School
Allie Gross, Mother Jones, February 12, 2015
Addressing the School to Prison Pipeline: Why Education Is the Liberation of Black Youth
Jonathan Stith, Huffington Post, February 11, 2015
How Our Schools Are Holding Black Girls Back
Lori Bezahler, Cassie Schwerner, Kavitha Mediratta, Time, February 9, 2015
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Member of DSC today!
DSC Model Code Comparison Tool Webinar
February 19, 4-5pm est
In this webinar you will learn how to use the Dignity in Schools Campaign's Model Code Comparison Tool. The DSC has created the Comparison Tool to help compare your local Code of Conduct to provisions of the DSC Model Code.Register here.
Developing A Private Litigation Approach to Charter School Accountability TeleConference
February 25, 1-2pm est
This teleconference roundtable will be a discussion among national experts focused on developing an analysis of laws and strategies that apply to charter schools that can be used as a tool for accountability for student rights. Register here.
DSC Annual Membership Meeting
April 24-26, 2015
More info coming soon.
Civil Rights Suspended: An Analysis of New York City Charter School Discipline Policies
DSC-NY member Advocates for Children of New York released this report finding that a significant number of City charter schools have discipline policies that fail to meet legal requirements, leading to violations of students’ and parents’ civil rights. The report includes recommendations for state legislators to consider. Find the report here.
Black Lives Matter: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males
The Schott Foundation for Public Education released this report which details graduation rates of Black, White and Latino males nationally, by state, and in major urban districts. The report also details disproportionality in school disciplinary practices by race and gender. Find the report here.
Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected
The African American Policy Forum and Columbia Law School’s Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies released this report based on a new review of national data and personal interviews with young women in Boston and New York. The report recommends policies and interventions to address challenges facing girls of color. Find report here.
First Person Accounts of Criminal Justice Debt Report
DSC member Center for Community Alternatives released this report that provides first person accounts of the impact of criminal justice debt - child support, victim restitution, fines and fees - on reentry and community reintegration. It discusses how the heavy burden of debt affects not just the returning person, but their families as well. Find report here.
About Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC)
The Dignity in Schools Campaign is a national coalition of youth, parents, advocates, community-based organizations, educators and policymakers working together to seek human rights-based solutions to the systemic problem of pushout in U.S. schools.
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