Groups that Support Education Organizing Efforts

Education organizing may be one of the most viable
approaches available for bringing about enduring educational
improvement that is accountable to grassroots communities.
Nevertheless, the considerable obstacles to making significant
educational change threaten to keep education organizing from
fulfilling this potential. Education organizing efforts must deal
with the complexity of educational policy and practice; the
entrenchment of the status quo; the difficulty of developing
strong, sustainable grassroots organizations; and many other
challenges.
As education organizing has expanded, the demand has
increased for organizations that can partner with organizing
groups in activities that augment the probability of successful
educational change campaigns. These organizations offer a vari-
ety of support that may include, but is not limited to, research,
policy development, organizational development, organizing
training, alliance-building, legal assistance, and fundraising
assistance tailored to local community groups’ needs. Organiza-
tions engaged in this work believe that education organizing is a
fundamental and central strategy for bringing about meaningful
educational change. The support these organizations provide is
intended to ensure that the potential of education organizing is
fully realized.
Augmenting Power and Amplifying Impact.
Community
organizing groups find that support from intermediaries makes a
difference in their work in a variety of ways, as the examples
below illustrate.

“Intermediaries are repositories of knowledge,”
according
to Abdi Soltani of Californians for Justice (CFJ). When CFJ
shifted its organizational focus to education, it had to
contend with a steep learning curve. Intermediary organ-
izations brought CFJ “up to speed in a short amount of
time by providing the context for a strong understanding
of the education policy landscape.”

“Good policy is built around good data,”
commented Doug Bloch of ACORN. Commu-
nity organizing backed with data led to ACORN’s recent victory over budget cuts
that would have adversely affected public schools in San Diego’s low-income com-
munities. At ACORN’s request, the Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access
(IDEA) at UCLA examined the distribution of qualified teachers in low-income com-
munities of color and highlighted the importance of preventing teacher layoffs in
these areas. IDEA’s study supported ACORN’s organizing efforts and resulted in
the superintendent’s commitment to additional funds for teachers in impacted
communities.