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Education and Youth

VOICE Victorious in Keeping Fairfax County Public Schools Accountable to Honoring Muslim Holidays, Wins Options for Muslim Students Taking Standardized Testing During Ramadan

VOICE leaders at May 2017 action where Fairfax County Public Schools committed to honoring Muslim and Jewishholidays.
VOICE leaders received notification from Fairfax County Public Schools regarding student end-of-the-year standardized testing. Fairfax County Schools will allow all Muslim families with children fasting for Ramadan to take their standardized tests before the designated testing timeframe, which would be prior to the start of Ramadan. 
Schools have also made available to parents the option for students to take their tests during the designated school testing period, but with a request for students to take their tests in the early morning when children have better energy levels. This victory follows VOICE’s demands that Fairfax and Prince William Counties honor Muslim and Jewish holidays by issuing new regulations that student absences related to the celebration of religious holidays would not affect attendance records. The two counties also committed to avoiding testing and major school events during those holidays as well.

BUILD Victory Restores $2.58 Million in Cuts to After-School Programs

On June 7th, BUILD won the restoration of $2.58 million in cuts to Baltimore City after-school and community school programs.  The BUILD One Baltimore campaign began in 2015 with jobs, safety, and youth program funding demands. Every major Mayoral candidate – including then candidate Pugh – agreed to these demands at the largest Baltimore City mayoral candidate accountability forum in March 2016.

When Mayor Pugh reneged on her promise to retain funding for after-school programs, BUILD, along with the No Boundaries Coalition and the Baltimore Youth Organizing Project (BYOP), confronted the Mayor at a youth-led action attended by hundreds of youth and supportive adults. When she refused to meet demands, BUILD stepped up the pressure by securing unanimous commitment from City Council members to make cuts to the Mayor’s budget to force her to restore money to the school budget.  Halfway through the June 7th youth-led hearing before the Council budget committee attended by hundreds, Council President Jack Young announced that negotiations had ended with the Mayor agreeing to restore the funding.

GCC Victorious Following Action with CEO of Cleveland Schools

In May GCC held a 125-person "Listen, Act, Win" action with Cleveland Schools CEO Eric Gordon at JFK High School about GCC's 2017 education agenda.  Victories from the action include: John F. Kennedy Eagle Academy and PACT, with an estimated total of 650 students, will have full after-school programming with arts, music and athletics; trauma teams will be created for John F. Kennedy Eagle and PACT schools to deal with issues like the opioid crisis and street violence; and the Downtown Education Center, the school inside the juvenile detention facility, will now be able to provide summer learning for approximately 220 students.

BUILD Secures $70 million Commitment for Baltimore City Schools Funding Gap

In alliance with principals and schools across the City, BUILD won an additional commitment of $10 million in funding, bringing the total to $70 million BUILD has organized to close the $130 million gap in school funding.

Baltimore City Council President Jack Young, along with 11 other city council representatives, announced the additional commitment of $10 million at a BUILD and Baltimoreans for Educational Equity action of 900 parents, teachers and principals. The week prior, BUILD stood with principals of 50 city schools along with teachers and parents in actions outside City Hall and at the next night’s school board meeting to demand that all parties negotiate a solution to completely close the gap over the next 3 years until the next funding formula change. From this organized pressure, BUILD also helped influence the Mayor and State Legislature to secure an additional $60 million in city and state funding to help fix the gap.


Media coverage:

LCU Acknowledged for Increasing Access to Quality Education

LEARN President and CEO, Greg White, formally acknowledge and thanked Lake County United (LCU) for their role in laying the ground work for community support that led to the authorization of LEARN 9 in Waukegan IL.  LEARN Charter Network has 10 schools with 4,100 students (88% are low-income).  Each of the established schools exceed state standards.

Action In Montgomery (AIM) Wins Quality, Affordable After School Program for Low-Income Students

240 elementary school students are now drumming, dancing, cooking, playing basketball, doing academics, and getting a hot dinner every day after school thanks to AIM! The Dream Academy Program is modeled after Child First Authority, an after school program created by Metro IAF affiliate BUILD, and organizes parents to be engaged in their school and community, and to win quality after school programming in the lowest income schools in Montgomery County MD.

AIM started organizing two years ago when parents and school staff said over and over that quality, affordable after school programming was non-existent for low-income students and was contributing to the opportunity and achievement gap for students of color and low-income students. The program provides an hour of recreation and an hour of academics to students four days a week.

AIM is working to expand the program to four additional schools in 2018.

GBIO's Work Helps Launch New STEM Academy

For the first time in more than a decade, Boston is about to embark on constructing a school, potentially kicking off a new era for a school system that has long struggled to bring projects to fruition.