Coalition tackles public education

A coalition of almost 70 grassroots groups and local and national funders is working to increase parental and student involvement in public education reform, with a focus on low-income students of color.

Launched in May, Communities for Public Education Reform is supported by foundations that, over the next three years, will be funneling more than $6 million into the effort.

A series of grants and technical support is designed to help residents in Chicago, Denver, Philadelphia and New Jersey gain a greater voice in shaping the policies that affect their public schools.

“Simply put, there can be no real public school reform without the active participation of parents and students,” Cyrus Driver, deputy director of education programs at the Ford Foundation, says in a statement.  “They are the ‘consumers’ of education and a needed voice at the table.”

The coalition, which will be managed by Public Interest Projects, based in New York City, will organize parents, students and community leaders, encouraging them to add their input to discussions and debates about reform efforts in their regions.

National foundations supporting the coalition include the Ford Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

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