Other Group

Alliance for Educational Justice (AEJ)

Website:

www.policefreeschools.org

Headquarters:

Washington, D.C

Location:

Oakland, CA

Status:

Collective of Educational Activist Organizations

Formation:

2008

Type:

Educational Activist Organization

Executive Director:

Jonathan Stith

Alliance for Educational Justice (AEJ) is a left-wing collaborative of 30 youth-led education activist groups [1] [2] that aims to build organizational capacity sustain and grow the left-progressive movement. [3]

Originally funded by the left-of-center Edward W. Hazen Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Surdna Foundation [4] and supported by the Movement Strategy Center (MSC), [5] AEJ supports “police-free schools” [6] and advocates for an end of what the organization calls the “school-to-prison pipeline.” [7] AEJ lobbied the Obama administration to take a stand against zero-tolerance school discipline measures. [8]

In 2018, AEJ published a report with the left-of-center Advancement Project [9] that calls for a removal of police from schools [10] and claims policing practices at public schools have historical roots in suppressing black and Hispanic student movements and “the criminalization of black childhood.” [11] AEJ  links the movement to remove police from schools to the far-left Black Lives Matter movement. [12]

History and Leadership

Alliance for Educational Justice (AEJ) was founded in San Francisco 2008 after a meeting of 20 groups of student and educational activist groups with the goal of incorporating the critical race theory-inspired concept of educational equity in their own states and communities. [13] Originally funded by the left-of-center Edward W. Hazen Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Surdna Foundation [14] and facilitated by the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, AEJ lobbied the Obama administration [15] to take a stand against zero-tolerance school discipline measures and promote critical race theory-influenced concept of “restorative justice” alternatives. As of 2022, AEJ  links the movement to remove police from schools to the far-left Black Lives Matter movement, [16] and its membership includes 1,000 high school-aged members. [17]

Jonathan Stith is AEJ’s national director. [18] [19] Previously Stith was the executive director of the Youth Education Alliance and a steering committee member of the Justice for DC Youth Coalition. [20]

Activities and Funding

Alliance for Educational Justice is a national collective of 30 youth-led educational activist groups across 12 states and 14 cities. [21] [22] AEJ’s launch was supported by the left-wing Movement Strategy Center (MSC) [23] and aims to build organizational capacity to sustain and grow the left-progressive movement. [24] AEJ’s organizing efforts focus on minority and LGBT youth and their parents in an effort to dismantle what they call the U.S. educational system’s “school-to-prison pipeline.” [25] AEJ has received development support from the left-wing MSC [26] and aligns its organizing efforts with other left-progressive priorities including “other struggles for humanity, equality, and justice.” [27]

AEJ operates a map documenting police use of force, [28] supports “police-free schools,” [29] hosted webinars on police-free schools, [30] and operates the critical race theory-influenced George Carter III Restorative Justice Learning Exchange with funds from Life Comes From It. [31]

AEJ a member of the left-of-center Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools, [32] is on the coordinating committee for the Journey for Justice Alliance, [33] and operates the Youth Justice Corp NYA Fund with the National Youth Alliance for Boys and Men of Color (NYABMOC). [34] AEJ is also a member of the left-of-center Communities for Just Schools Fund alongside the left-of-center Dignity in Schools, the Center for Popular Democracy, and the Journey for Justice Alliance. [35]

AEJ has worked with the Advancement Project to address the system it calls a “school-to-prison pipeline.” [36] In support of this policy position, AEJ and the Advancement Project co-authored the We Came to Learn report ion 2018. This report claims safety does not exist when minority groups are forced to “interact with a system of policing that views them as a threat and not as students.” The report also says policing practices at public schools have historical roots in suppressing black and Hispanic student movements and “the criminalization of black childhood.” The report also calls for a removal of police from schools. [37]

Police Free Schools

Alliance for Educational Justice and the left-of-center Advancement Project operate Police Free Schools, which advocates for the removal of police in schools. Founded in 2017, it convenes 10 organizations to form the National Campaign for Police Free Schools. The group defines “police free schools” as dismantling police infrastructure, culture, and practice; ending school militarization and surveillance; and building a new, liberatory education system. [38] The group is grounded in 6 “D’s” to advance its so-called “abolitionist fights:” decriminalize, deprioritize, divest and invest, demilitarize and disarm, delegitimize, and dismantle. [39]

Police Free Schools’ partner organizations include: Baltimore Algebra Project, Black Lives Matter Louisville, Black Organizing Project, Black Swan Academy, Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth, Education Justice Alliance, EveryBlackGirl, Girls for Gender Equity, Juntos, the radical-left Labor Community Strategy Center, Make the Road New York (MRNY), and others. [40]

Members

Members of AEJ have included Albany Park Neighborhood Council, Baltimore Algebra Project, Boston Youth Organizing Project, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, Californians for Justice, Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth, Community Coalition, Desis Rising Up and Moving, Future of Tomorrow, InnerCity Struggle, Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, Make the Road New York, Mothers on the Move, Padres y Jovenes Unidos, Philadelphia Student Union, Sistas & Brothas United (a project of the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition), Sunflower Community Action, Youth Together, Youth United for Change, Youth Education Alliance. [41]

Funding

Alliance for Educational Justice was originally funded by the left-of-center Edward W. Hazen Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Surdna Foundation. [42] The left-wing Movement Strategy Center has provided developmental support to AEJ and advises AEJ on strategy. [43]

In 2020, AEJ received a grant from the FCYO Movement to Movement Fund for its Police Free Schools initiative. [44] That same year, the left-of-center Ford Foundation’s Next Generation Fund announced it would have given funds to AEJ if the fund had more resources. [45]

In 2019, AEJ received $10,000 from the Cricket Island Foundation through Coleman Advocates in 2019. [46] In 2017, AEJ received fiscal sponsorship from Coleman Children and Youth Services in 2017. [47] AEJ also received $15,000 in funding from the left-of-center Schott Foundation for Public Education via a donation to MSC in 2013. [48]

In 2012, AEJ received $800,000 via a grant to MSC from Atlantic Philanthropies. [49]

References

  1. “2019 Grantees.” Life Comes From It. 2019. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://www.lifecomesfromit.org/2019grantees. ^
  2. “About the Alliance.” The Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools. Accessed February 20, 2022. http://www.reclaimourschools.org/?q=about. ^
  3.  “Alliance for Educational Justice.” Idealist. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://www.idealist.org/en/nonprofit/0a19216be18a46d0abba57f2311a73a0-alliance-for-educational-justice-washington#:~:text=The%20Alliance%20for%20Educational%20Justice,groups%20working%20for%20educational%20justice.&text=They%20represent%20a%20proven%20approach,the%20mainstream%20education%20reform%20debates. ^
  4. “Voices in Urban Education.” Annenberg Institute for School Reform. Spring 2011. Accessed February 21, 2022. https://www.annenberginstitute.org/sites/default/files/VUE30.pdf. ^
  5. “The Beginning.” Movement Strategy Center. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://www.influencewatch.org/non-profit/movement-strategy-center/. ^
  6. “Twitter.” Tweet. Posted February 10, 2022. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://twitter.com/4EdJustice/status/1491764646692503554?cxt=HHwWhIC-6duC6LMpAAAA. ^
  7. “Alliance for Educational Justice.” Funder’s Collaborative on Youth Organizing. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://fcyo.org/map/profile/57dc4abdc8b5b70f4110e317. ^
  8. “Youth Organizing for Educational Reform. “Annenberg Institute for School Reform. Spring 2011. Pg. 42. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://www.annenberginstitute.org/sites/default/files/VUE30.pdf. ^
  9. “Advancement Project.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2017. Schedule I. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/954835230/201803169349304430/IRS990. ^
  10. “We Came to Learn: A Call to Action for Police-Free Schools.” Advancement Project. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://advancementproject.org/wecametolearn/. ^
  11. [1] “We Came to Learn: A Call to Action for Police-Free Schools.” Advancement Project. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://advancementproject.org/wecametolearn/. ^
  12. “Jonathan Stith.” Lift Us Up Movement.” Accessed February 20, 2022. https://www.liftusupmovement.org/johnathan-stith. ^
  13. Spotlight: Alliance for Educational Justice.” Schott Foundation for Public Education. Accessed February 20, 2022. http://schottfoundation.org/content/spotlight-alliance-educational-justice. ^
  14. “Voices in Urban Education.” Annenberg Institute for School Reform. Spring 2011. Accessed February 21, 2022. https://www.annenberginstitute.org/sites/default/files/VUE30.pdf. ^
  15. “Youth Organizing for Educational Reform. “Annenberg Institute for School Reform. Spring 2011. Pg. 42. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://www.annenberginstitute.org/sites/default/files/VUE30.pdf. ^
  16. [1] “Jonathan Stith.” Lift Us Up Movement.” Accessed February 20, 2022. https://www.liftusupmovement.org/johnathan-stith. ^
  17.  “education and Community Resource Guide.” District of Columbia State Board of Education. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://sboe.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/sboe/publication/attachments/Advocacy-Policy-R.pdf. ^
  18. “Alliance for Educational Justice.” Facebook. Accessed February 20, 2022. http://www.facebook.com/4EdJustice/?ref=page_internal. ^
  19. “Jonathan Stith.” National Education Policy Center. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://nepc.colorado.edu/author/stith-jonathan. ^
  20. “Jonathan Stith.” National Education Policy Center. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://nepc.colorado.edu/author/stith-jonathan. ^
  21. “2019 Grantees.” Life Comes From It. 2019. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://www.lifecomesfromit.org/2019grantees. ^
  22. “About the Alliance.” The Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools. Accessed February 20, 2022. http://www.reclaimourschools.org/?q=about. ^
  23. “The Beginning.” Movement Strategy Center. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://www.influencewatch.org/non-profit/movement-strategy-center/. ^
  24. “Alliance for Educational Justice.” Idealist. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://www.idealist.org/en/nonprofit/0a19216be18a46d0abba57f2311a73a0-alliance-for-educational-justice-washington#:~:text=The%20Alliance%20for%20Educational%20Justice,groups%20working%20for%20educational%20justice.&text=They%20represent%20a%20proven%20approach,the%20mainstream%20education%20reform%20debates. ^
  25. “Alliance for Educational Justice.” Funder’s Collaborative on Youth Organizing. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://fcyo.org/map/profile/57dc4abdc8b5b70f4110e317. ^
  26. “Voices in Urban Education.” Annenberg Institute for School Reform. Spring 2011. Accessed February 21, 2022. https://www.annenberginstitute.org/sites/default/files/VUE30.pdf. ^
  27.  “Alliance for Educational Justice.” Sound Out. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://soundout.org/2015/04/16/alliance-for-educational-justice/. ^
  28. “Assaultat Map.” PoliceFreeSchools. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://policefreeschools.org/map/ ^
  29. “Twitter.” Tweet. Posted February 10, 2022. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://twitter.com/4EdJustice/status/1491764646692503554?cxt=HHwWhIC-6duC6LMpAAAA. ^
  30.  [1] “Alliance for Educational Justice.” YouTube. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGFiXQGaGAQ5ydXCTJdFBtA. ^
  31. “2019 Grantees.” Life Comes From It. Accessed February 21, 2022. https://www.lifecomesfromit.org/2019grantees. ^
  32. “About the Alliance.” The Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools. Accessed February 20, 2022. http://www.reclaimourschools.org/?q=about. ^
  33. “Voices from America’s Affected Communities of Color.” Journey for Justice Alliance. May 2014. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://dignityinschools.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/J4J_1000_Cuts.pdf. ^
  34. [1] “ALLIANCE FOR EDUCATIONAL JUSTICE YOUTH JUSTICE CORP NYA FUND.” NYA Youth Action Fund. June 13, 2017. Accessed February 20, 2022. http://nyayouthactionfund.blogspot.com/2017/06/nya-action-fund-is-national-partnership.html. ^
  35. “STATEMENT: Federal Commission Responds to Anything But School Safety.” Communities for Just Schools. December 18, 2019. Accessed  February 20, 2022. https://www.cjsfund.org/federal-commission-on-school-safety. ^
  36. “Advancement Project.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2017. Schedule I. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/954835230/201803169349304430/IRS990. ^
  37. “We Came to Learn: A Call to Action for Police-Free Schools.” Advancement Project. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://advancementproject.org/wecametolearn/. ^
  38. “History and Formation.” Police Free Schools. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://policefreeschools.org/. ^
  39. “History and Formation.” Police Free Schools. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://policefreeschools.org/. ^
  40.  “Partners.” Police Free Schools. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://policefreeschools.org/partners/. ^
  41. “Spotlight: Alliance for Educational Justice.” Schott Foundation for Public Education. Accessed February 20, 2022. http://schottfoundation.org/content/spotlight-alliance-educational-justice. ^
  42. “Voices in Urban Education.” Annenberg Institute for School Reform. Spring 2011. Accessed February 21, 2022. https://www.annenberginstitute.org/sites/default/files/VUE30.pdf. ^
  43. Voices in Urban Education.” Annenberg Institute for School Reform. Spring 2011. Accessed February 21, 2022. https://www.annenberginstitute.org/sites/default/files/VUE30.pdf. ^
  44. “FCYO Movement to Movement Fund 2020 Grant Awards: Young People Advancing Climate Justice and Voter Engagement.” Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://fcyo.org/programs/fcyo-moment-to-movement-fund-2020-grant-awards-young-people-advancing-climate-justice-and-voter-engagement. ^
  45. “Generation Transformation.” The Ford Foundation. September 2020. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://www.fordfoundation.org/media/5849/ceg-generation-transformation.pdf. ^
  46. “The Cricket Island Foundation.” Return of Private Foundation. (Form 990-PF). 2019. Part XV. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/341925915/202043179349101214/full. ^
  47. “Coleman Children and Youth Services.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2017. Schedule I. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/942258612/201921209349301707/full. ^
  48. “The Schott Foundation for Public Education.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2013. Schedule I. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/43457065/201531349349302348/full. ^
  49. “Alliance for Educational Justice: School to Prison Pipeline.” The Atlantic Philanthropies. 2012. Accessed February 20, 2022. https://www.atlanticphilanthropies.org/grants/alliance-for-educational-justice-school-to-prison-pipeline. ^
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