Citizens for Public Schools: Promoting, preserving and protecting public education.

Defending public education as a public resource through civic engagement, effective advocacy and the latest organizing technologies.

The Problem

Our nation’s public schools are a cornerstone of democracy, but they are threatened everywhere. In Massachusetts, where public education was founded, our state legislature ended its 2018 session deadlocked on updating the state’s antiquated school funding formula. The result? The already wide opportunity and achievement gap remains intractable, exacerbated by the use of inequitable high-stakes standardized testing and the diversion of public resources from publicly run schools to charter schools. Many low and middle income districts are in fiscal crisis and their students are being left behind. Citizens for Public Schools is helping them fight back. We’re a small but mighty grassroots organization of parents, teachers, students and community members organizing and engaging together in legislative, legal and policy advocacy to promote, preserve and protect public education as a vital public resource.

We are at an inflection point in our advocacy. Born of political urgency, Citizens for Public Schools was formed as a coalition in the spring of 1982 to oppose a Massachusetts ballot question seeking to divert tax dollars to private and parochial schools. Since then, CPS has helped to win legal and legislative battles to keep public schools inclusive, democratically accountable and under public control. Today, we are a grassroots membership-driven organization. Our volunteer board of veteran public school policy experts and powerhouse advocates, along with our small paid staff of two part-time employees, is strengthening the voices of public education supporters. We’re updating our website and organizing tools to scale our impact and empower our fellow advocates.

The Solution

Shared Nation member support of CPS would accelerate our plan to re-launch our website, create media to tell our remarkable story, equip our volunteers with new organizing tools and increase our part-time staff hours to grow our reach across Massachusetts. Our pro-bono board of public education policy experts is mobilizing to develop useful content and position statements we’ll share with parents and citizens to use at the local and state level to promote and support policies & legislation that will protect their public schools. We’ll leverage these materials for our fall campaigns for school funding and high-stakes test reform. Together, we’ll defend public education in Massachusetts and set a policy precedent for the nation.

You’ll be helping to ensure that publicly funded schools are accountable to the whole community and serve all children. With our members and partners, we’ll focus on three issues and campaigns:

  1. Guaranteeing adequate funding to ensure quality schools for all children,
  2. Resisting charter schools and privatization that divert resources from public schools and threaten public accountability, and
  3. Replacing the use of discriminatory high-stakes exams with more fair and effective multiple-measure assessments. We make it easy for ordinary citizens to advocate for change in their communities and in the Commonwealth.

Our public schools are a shared investment in our nation’s most important resource: our children. Let’s invest in them together.

Planned Use Of Funds

A Shared Nation grant would be used to help broaden our reach and civic engagement through: tech support for the re-launch and refresh of our website & graphics; video editing to better tell our remarkable story and the stories of parents and students; infographic media design to develop issue-oriented fact sheets; and, if possible, increased hours of our part-time staff to grow our reach across Massachusetts.

Stage of Development

  • Early Stage
  • Established Prototype
  • Scaling
  • Other

Organization to Receive Funds

Citizens for Public Schools

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