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KnowYourCharter Toolkit

Do you know the impact charter schools are having on your local school district and community? How much of the $900 million being diverted from traditional public schools to charters is coming at the expense of your schools?

KnowYourCharter.com is a powerful new resource that helps you and your members answer those questions. With many Ohioans unaware of how charter schools operate and how they’re performing , we have much work to do to raise awareness of the impact of charter schools on our communities to build public pressure for meaningful reform.

THIS TOOLKIT provides you with the tools and resources you need to use KnowYourCharter.com as a tool for member organizing and political advocacy. In it, you will find:

– A user’s guide to KnowYourCharter.com
– OEA’s message on charter schools
– A guide to charter school accountability campaign activities at the local level and with your legislators
– Sample letters-to-the-editor and information on where to send them
– Sample Board of Education Resolutions
– Information on how to access additional resources

We encourage you to use any or all of the recommended strategies as a way of engaging members in your local on this vital issue. For further information, go to ohea.org or contact us at KnowYourCharter@ohea.org. Be sure to let us know what you’re doing and the impact you’re having in your community.

Creating Strong Schools and Strong Communities: An Alternative to State Takeover Disenfranchisement

In dissolving locally elected school boards and disempowering local communities by stripping away the power of voters’ rights to local governance, the consequences of state takeovers have yielded devastating outcomes for local communities while demonstrating unnoticeable gains in student achievement.  The report, Out of Control: The Systemic Disenfranchisement of African American and Latino Communities Through School Takeovers addresses the negative impact that state takeovers have had on communities throughout the United States.  Captured in this report by the Alliance to Reclaim our Schools, is recognition that strong schools are important elements of strong communities.   In this context, fully developed Community Schools, also known as Community Learning Centers is a strategy that strengthens schools and communities. Prior to the surprise state takeover amendment, the original version of House Bill 70 only dealt with establishing a community learning center model for schools. Learn more:

Out of Control: The Systemic Disenfranchisement of African American and Latino Communities Through School Takeovers

http://www.reclaimourschools.org/updates/out-of-control

Community Schools Video Created by Students from Oakland Unified School District.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8GaUJEP2h0

Coalition for Community Schools  

http://www.communityschools.org/aboutschools/faqs.aspx

Building Community Schools: A Guide for Action (National Center for Community Schools & Children’s Aid Society)

http://www.childrensaidsociety.org/publications/building-community-schools-guide-action-2013-edition

Community Schools Toolkit (Center for Popular Democracy)

http://populardemocracy.org/sites/default/files/publications/CPD_CEJToolkit_FIN.pdf

Closing Achievement Gaps – A Shared Responsibility

Closing achievement gaps is a shared responsibility. The purpose of this website is to provide research, resources, and recommended reading for educators, parents and the community that will empower collaborative efforts toward improving the success of all students.

Achievement gaps is a term for a complex set of problems referring to disparities in achievement between a high-performing demographic group and all other demographic groups. The disparities can occur on a number of measures, such as graduation rates, school achievement, test scores and participation in college preparatory coursework and other challenging curricula.

Achievement gaps are a pervasive problem with deep roots in our social history. Any review of the literature on achievement gaps reveals a number of probable causes that exist both within and outside of schools. The variables are many; they are complex in nature, and they are intricately inter-related. Gaps exist in Ohio schools at all economic levels and in urban, rural and suburban settings.

Ohio’s State Board of Education created an Achievement Gaps Task Force in which parents and representatives from over twenty organizations studied the achievement gap problem in Ohio and issued a report with recommendations. The report, issued in May, 2003, provided recommendations for strategies in three areas:

•    Drive focus toward high achievement for all.
•    Ensure that educators are well prepared and supported.
•    Adapt structures to the needs of the students served.

In response to the recommendations from the Achievement Gaps Task Force, the Ohio Department of Education launched the State Superintendent’s Schools of Promise Initiative. This initiative recognizes Ohio schools that are closing achievement gaps and producing high achievement for all students. Those schools have demonstrated that it is possible to close achievement gaps, despite having student demographics often associated with low performance.  A study of these schools revealed evidence of the following elements:
•    Rigorous standards and instruction
•    Strong instructional leadership;
•    Instruction designed for all students’ success
•    Parent and community involvement;
•    A positive school culture

Find out more here.