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Knowledge From the Field

Organized Communities, Stronger Schools: A Preview of Research Findings

Published: March 2008

Publisher(s): Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University

Author(s): Mediratta, Kavitha; Norm Fruchter; Dana Lockwood; Sara McAlister; Christina Mokhtar; Seema Shah

Funder(s): Charles Stewart Mott Foundation

View Report (41 pages; 792KB; PDF)

Area of Focus: Low-Performing Schools

Abstract: Since the emergence of education organizing for school reform in the early 1990s, education organizers, researchers, and foundation supporters have debated the impact of organizing on student educational outcomes. This study quantified and measured the impact of community organizing on specific performance indicators.

Key Findings and/or Recommendations

+ Community organizing contributes to academic 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.

+ Participating in organizing efforts increases 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.

+ Adults and youth reported that they gained new knowledge about school and community issues, new engagement behaviors in schools and communities, and higher goals and expectations for themselves and their families as a result of their participation in organizing.

Geographic Focus : California, Illinois, Florida, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania

Subjects/Keywords : Low-Performing Schools; community organizing; community involvement; grassroots organization; parental involvement; low-income communities; achievement gap; education reform

+ Successful strategy
= Observation
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