Dr. Martin Luther King wrote that “the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
In this period of unprecedented challenge and controversy in our nation, we at Stand for Children have lived up to our name. Over and over, we have taken a stand.
For the 800,000 young people with DACA status whose promising lives are at risk, we have enlisted and mobilized thousands of education leaders and hundreds of thousands of our supporters across the country to advocate for a clean Dream Act.
For middle school students facing unprecedented meanness and hostility, we launched the Middle School Kindness Challenge thanks to an unprecedented partnership with leading content providers and education organizations.
For public school students across the nation, we stood up against proposed federal budget cuts and a potential dramatic expansion in vouchers for private schools.
All of these efforts directly respond to the challenges of our day but in no way divert us from our core mission. Our commitment to ensuring that all children are prepared to succeed has fueled this work and made this our most impactful year ever in concert with our many esteemed partners.
In 2017, Stand Illinois championed a $350 million per year increase in funding for Illinois’ lowest funded school districts and $221 million specifically for Chicago Public Schools, which, despite outstanding progress, were in dire financial straits. Stand Oregon secured $170 million over two years to fund Measure 98 in order to increase the state’s low graduation rates, improve college and career readiness, and an innovative implementation effort. In Washington state, we fought for a $527 million increase over four years in the Learning Assistance Program for students below grade level, $197.5 million over four years in dedicated funding for Career Technical Education, and more equitable funding overall. We’re proud of our success in Arizona that led to $20 million in funding for early literacy, and that Stand Indiana continued its integral work in the renaissance of Indianapolis Public Schools, where graduation rates have increased from 65% to 77% and the percentage of D and F rated schools has declined from 66% to 50% since 2012.
Life is short. The barriers blocking poor children and children of color from reaching their tremendous potential to live productive lives and help their communities are persistent. The only choice is to lead boldly, effectively, and collaboratively.
I know you are with us and I deeply appreciate it.
Thank you for all you do for children and for taking a stand at a time when children need us to show more courage and conviction than ever.
Co-founder and CEO of Stand for Children