For the past 10 months, New York State parents have engaged in Ed Trust–NY’s inaugural Parent Advocate Policy Lab by attending sessions twice a month and collaborating with each other to help resolve education issues. Throughout the Lab, parent participants developed skills in policy writing, power mapping, and advocacy strategies to support the educational equity work they are already leading in their communities.
And at a time when New York State has received unprecedented funding from the American Rescue Plan Act and state aid, Lab participants also broadened their knowledge of the statewide education landscape and how to ensure state and local education leaders invest this funding in ways that meet the needs of all learners — especially those most impacted by the pandemic — in their respective districts.
Join us in being inspired — here are just a few ways the parent leaders applied strategies in the Lab to help fight for educational equity!
- With the tools acquired through the Lab, Gabrielle Mosher, a Lab participant in Buffalo, was able to take a closer look at the current budget, Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief, and American Rescue Plan funding, and opened up a dialogue with the Board of Education about funds not accounted for and how they can redistribute them to fill in necessary gaps in the district.
- By using new advocacy strategies, Mai Abdullah, a Lab participant in the Rush-Henrietta District, secured more resources through the use of new funding for English as a New Language Learners. This includes a new summer program for incoming kindergarteners, which will ensure kids are socially ready for kindergarten and screened for their learning needs prior to the start of the school year.
- Marenda Thornton-Lawhorn, a Lab participant in Rochester, used strategies from the Lab to present to her superintendent a plan to help students — who would typically not be chosen for accelerated classes — earn credits before starting high school by gaining a trade, earning college credits, or graduating early.
- To deal with racism in sports, Lynette Battle, a Lab participant in the Sewanhaka Central High School District of Long Island, incorporated tools from the Lab to help her Parent Teacher Student Association make major headway with the school district and governing sports authority to address racial injustice, while also organizing parents, students, and the community in their cry for justice.
- Maurice Haskins, a Lab participant in Rochester, engaged with the media and other parent leaders in the community by using communication strategies presented in the Lab.
Thank you to all our parent leaders who put the work in to advance educational equity day in and day out. Because, as Jimmie Brown, a Lab participant in New York City, said: “We must always remember one size doesn’t fix all when it comes to educating our children. We must always be reaching them where they are, encouraging and showing them how far they are going and how well they are doing.”
Parents, we can’t wait to see how you continue to lead the movement for educational justice this coming school in your communities!