Advancing Public Education Regional Network
Through this informal regional network, SEF provides research, strategies, and other resources to advocates for public education. With limited resources in the advocacy and social justice communities of the South, SEF works to better align and leverage the existing capacities of the field, through messaging and communications support, place-based initiatives, networking and information sharing, and more.
As part of this effort, SEF and the Center for Popular Democracy convened in 2013 over 100 advocates for public education from 11 Southern states to compare notes and lay the ground work for a regional strategy to improve public education. Labor, community organizers, advocates, funders, and others were brought together to share information and strategies for advancing public education and pushing back against the movement to privatize public education during a three day conference held in Atlanta, Georgia. States reported out on what they were facing in terms of vouchers, tax credit scholarships, rising standards and expectations with reduced funding, charter school expansion, and the growing presence of ALEC and other national organizations in their states pushing anti-public education agendas. Strategy sessions were held on messaging, research, litigation, community organizing, and coalition building to support and improve public education. The convening made clear that the movement to privatize public education is happening on a regional and national level –and we must collaborate our efforts across communities and states to be effective. And attendees worked across states and within states to identify common challenges, opportunities, strategies, and first steps to move forward before the upcoming legislative sessions.
SEF continues to partner with CPD and other organizations in 2014 and 2015 to convene and support key stakeholders and determine next steps for advancing the work of state and regional leadership on these critical issues.