Thursday, April 10, 2008

Community Organizing and Schools: It Works (Community Organizing and Urban Education)

I've been off blogging at OpenLeft, I'm afraid. But here are the "key findings" from a new study on community organizing and schools:
Data suggest that organizing is contributing to school-level improvements, particularly in the areas of school–community relationships, parent involvement and engagement, sense of school community and trust, teacher collegiality, and teacher morale. Successful organizing strategies contributed to increased student attendance, improved standardized-test-score performance, and higher graduation rates and college-going aspirations in several sites.

Our findings suggest that organizing efforts are influencing policy and resource distribution at the system level. Officials, school administrators, and teachers in every site reported that community organizing influenced policy and resource decisions to increase equity and build capacity, particularly in historically low-performing schools.

Data indicate that participation in organizing efforts is increasing civic engagement, as well as knowledge and investment in education issues, among adult and youth community members. Young people reported that their involvement in organizing increased their motivation to succeed in school.

Our research suggests that organizing groups achieve these schooling and community impacts through a combination of system-level advocacy, school- or community-based activity, and strategic use of research and data. Continuous and consistent parent, youth, and community engagement produced through community organizing both generates and sustains these improvements.
Does anyone know of any other educational intervention that has these kind of effects? I don't.

Of course, schools of education will probably continue to ignore this. We do teaching. We work inside schools.

The authors of this study have done a lot of really important work on the relationship between organizing and education.

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