Greetings DSC Members and Allies!
It has been quite the year! We started 2015 with the launch of our petition against the federal 1033 Program's lending of surplus military weapons to law enforcement in schools, and wrapped up with a powerful Week of Action calling for investment in public education, not prison cultivation! Over the year our campaign gained new members and we have continued to build our collective power to end school pushout. We want to say thank you! If you have local campaign updates, events, or resources you would like to share through our e-newsletter email email@example.com.
Support our December Crowdfunding Campaign!
As we wrap up this year of amazing work with our members, we would like to ask for your help in supporting our end of the year crowdfunding campaign in partnership with Hispanics in Philanthropy. Our goal is to raise $5,000 during December to support our collective effort to build student and parent power. We need your support to continue advocating for the human right of every young person to a quality education and to be treated with dignity. For more information about how your donation will benefit DSC members and to donate, click here. Thank you for your support!
DSC Statement on Every Student Succeeds Act
On December 10, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law, finally reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and replacing the broken No Child Left Behind law. Throughout the year, DSC members organized to ensure that positive school climate provisions were included in the final ESEA bill. We also advocated to keep federal oversight and accountability provisions in the law to ensure that states and districts are held accountable when students are being subjected to discriminatory discipline practices. Unfortunately, critical federal oversight was diminished in the final law, but we are now urging states to act to implement discipline reforms and promote positive school climates under the new ESSA. You can read our entire DSC statement here.
DSC-NY Chapter Releases Third Case Study on Restorative School Communities
In November, the Dignity in Schools Campaign-NY (DSC-NY) chapter published their third case study about the work New Yorkers and NYC schools are doing to create positive, safe, and inclusive schools entitled, “Building Safe, Supportive and Restorative School Communities in New York City”. The case study features the work at Bushwick Campus, Middle School 22, James Baldwin School, and Edward A. Reynolds West Side High School. The study includes the work these schools have been doing to embrace positive school climate. The models for transforming schools include, multi-stakeholder decision-making processes, tackling conversations on race and racism, and creating core values upon which school community is based. DSC-NY will be distributing copies of the case study to school administrators and teachers, city council members, teachers' and principals' unions, and the Mayoral Leadership Team. You can read the case study here.
Victory for Syracuse City School District Students!
Earlier this year, DSC member Center for Community Alternatives (CCA) released the report Education Suspended: The Use of High School Disciplinary Records in College Admissions. CCA has been actively advocating to end the practice of disclosing high school disciplinary records in college admissions in Syracuse, NY. This month, at the Syracuse City School District board meeting, the policy to prohibit the disclosure of student disciplinary records during the college application process was passed unanimously. The board’s decision was informed by CCA’s report and we applaud the district for its leadership. We hope other districts across the country follow in their footsteps.
COFI/POWERPAC Celebrates 20 Years and Hosts 3rd Statewide Gathering of Parents
DSC member COFI/POWERPAC of Chicago celebrated its 20 year anniversary this month! Parent leaders, community members and donors joined a night of celebration on December 4th to honor the powerful work of parent leaders working on a variety of campaigns including the Elementary Justice Campaign that just last year, won major changes to the Chicago Public Schools Student Code of Conduct by ending suspensions of students in 2nd grade and younger.
Also last month, COFI hosted its third Statewide Gathering of Parents of Young Children in Bloomington, Illinois. Parent leaders came together from Aurora, Chicago, East St. Louis and Evanston to strategize ways to make Illinois stronger for Illinois’ youngest children and their families! On the next day, many of the parents joined the Illinois Innovation Zone conference to talk with partners about reaching ALL Illinois children with quality early care and education.
This month, DSC field organizer Fernando Martinez attended the U.S. Human Rights Network’s Advancing Rights Conference in Austin, Texas and co-hosted the workshop Using Human Rights to Dismantle the School-To-Prison Pipeline and Build an Education-Centered Human Rights Movement. The workshop discussed the use of a human rights framework in organizing and advocacy, as well as shared strategies, approaches and human rights principles when campaigning to end the criminalization of our students, parents and teachers by education systems.
IN THE NEWS
Where Teachers Are Still Allowed to Spank Students
Melinda D. Anderson, The Atlantic, December 15, 2015
An epidemic of questionable arrests by school police
Susan Ferriss, Center for Public Integrity, December 10, 2015
From Social Movement to Social Change: Philanthropy and School Discipline Reform
David Callahan, Inside Philanthropy, December 8, 2015
Why Are So Many Preschoolers Getting Suspended?
Melinda D. Anderson, The Atlantic, December 7, 2015
Failure Factories: Pinellas suspends black kids more than virtually every other big Florida county
Tampa Bay Times, December 6, 2015
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DSC Annual Membership Meeting
April 22-24, 2016
Los Angeles, CA
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The Promise of Place: Cities Advancing Black Male Achievement Report
The Campaign for Black Male Achievement (CBMA) developed this first-of-its-kind report, The Promise of Place: Cities Advancing Black Male Achievement, to track and communicate how cities’ efforts across the country are advancing Black Male Achievement. The report unveils the Black Male Achievement (BMA) City Index, which scores 50 cities according to their visible level of engagement and committed action on behalf of Black men and boys. You can read the report here.
Closing the School Discipline Gap in California Signs of Progress Report
The UCLA Civil Rights Project released Closing the School Discipline Gap in California: Signs of Progress Report where it found that California school districts are making solid progress toward reforming discipline practices and reducing out-of-school suspensions. The report examines suspension trends over a three-year period (2011-2014) on a statewide and individual school district basis. You can read the report here.
Mapping the School to Prison Pipeline Recorded Webinar
DSC member Public Counsel hosted a Mapping the School-to-Prison Pipeline Webinar with Tia Martinez of Forward Change Consulting that answers questions about how out-of-school punishments can result in involvement with the criminal justice system, have health implications, and how they contribute to intergenerational poverty. The webinar uses data to provide a unique and detailed picture of how students and communities, especially those of color, are affected by punitive education policies. You can watch the webinar 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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