Lowell Activists Fight for Equal Recess for All Students

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Parent, student and teacher activists of the Lowell Education Justice Alliance are also fighting for equitable funding and diversity in Lowell Public Schools.

LEJA officially launched in March of 2017 with a screening of the documentary “Defies Measurement”. We formed to continue the momentum and partnerships developed through the successful No On 2 campaign to defeat Question 2 in 2016. We followed up with a community forum in June that helped us define our priorities as a group.  In subsequent meetings, we narrowed down our focus to the following initiatives, with the understanding that Education Justice is a long-term commitment and we couldn’t take on everything at one time. This is just the beginning, but we are proud of what we’ve done it the past year.

Recess Policy: We recently launched our recess campaign for an equitable district-wide recess policy for K-8. We are advocating for a minimum of 30 minutes in all schools. We have developed Recess Policy Guidelines and a Research Brief that outline what we believe are important components to any policy adopted by LPS. LEJA organized and packed the house at the April 23rd School Committee meeting and got a commitment to have a district wide recess policy implemented by September 2018.

Diversifying LPS teaching force and staff: We have joined with a coalition of groups working towards diversifying our schools. We met with the superintendent to advocate for a professional firm to be hired in the search for a new HR Director of schools, one that has experience in recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce. We also requested to be a part of the search committee.  He agreed with our suggestions and on April 4th will be requesting funding from the school committee to hire a professional search firm. This is the beginning of a long and important process.

School Funding: To launch our #FundOurSchools campaign, we hosted a free community screening of “Backpack Full of Cash” on April 25th. On May 9th, we’ll host a forum on how our schools are funded, the inequities in the system, and what we as a community can do to change it. The forum is being organized in partnership with Fortaleza, a grassroots group working with Latino parents. At the forum we will propose some action steps:

  • Meet with our local reps to ask them to vote for current legislation to update the foundation budget.

  • Ask School Committee and City Council to pass a resolution in favor of updating the foundation budget.

  • In the summer and fall, work with Raise Up MA to pass the Fair Share Amendment (millionaires tax). Whereas updating the foundation budget would divide the pie more equitably, passing the millionaires tax would increase the size of the pie, so we have more to share

To get in touch with LEJA email us at lowelleducationjusticealliance@uml.edu. You can also find us on Facebook. Join us!