Education – July 2018

The room was quite a cross-section: young and old, black, white and brown, preachers, teachers, researchers and lawyers.

But all shared a belief that every child deserves a high-quality public education.

On July 2, a broad coalition met at the Orlando offices of the Florida PTA to develop a comprehensive education equity platform that can be used in the coming months when engaging candidates and later in mobilizing community stakeholders during the 2019 legislative session. This Education Equity Convening was co-sponsored by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Real Talk Coalition.

Iris Yetter and Robin Jones, co-chairs of the LWVSPA Education Committee, joined representatives from the Florida PTA, the Florida Coalition for Black Civic Participation, The Florida Council of Churches, The Florida Immigrant Coalition, LULAC, the NAACP and UnidosUS.

To provide the sobering context, Dr. Norin Dollard presented the most recent Annie E. Casey Foundation statistics on Education Well-Being in Florida. It is clear that we are not serving our students of color, our students in poverty, our children with disabilities, nor our English-language learners. And our ability to provide the necessary services is decreased each year, as already-low public education funding is being diverted to private providers who avoid these students all together.

The group divided into working groups to formulate policy priorities in four areas significant in addressing educational inequality: funding, discipline, teacher quality and early education. This work will culminate in a Policy Summit in September. We left Orlando with a shared commitment that all children are “gifted” and we need to provide them with the resources to reach their full potential.

If you interested in joining this effort, or our other major LWVSPA Education Committee campaign, the defeat of proposed Amendment 8, please contact Robin Jones or Iris Yetter.