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Educational Justice Collaborative (EJC)

The Education Justice Collaborative (EJC) is an expanding network of community organizations, researchers, educators, policy and legal advocates working toward a more equitable and fully resourced system of public education in California. Each participating organization engages in its own work for educational justice. The participants in the Education Justice Collaborative share the ultimate goal of providing a first rate education for every child in California, and specifically to make sure that this is possible for the groups of students currently receiving the most deficient education—students of color, low-income students, and immigrant students. The Collaborative hopes to accomplish this goal by promoting a system that includes

  1. an educated and activist citizenry, and
  2. democratic and transparent forms of educational accountability in which these citizens engage.

An “educated” citizenry would have greater access to the depth and breadth of the problems in our current system of education, but they would also be educated about the processes of how those systems can be changed – whether through the Master Plan process, Williams v. State litigation, or other forms of legislative and citizen action. A democratic and transparent accountability system would include “opportunity to learn standards” that specify what government agencies – the state and the school districts – must provide to each student. These standards would spell out the educational essentials that many California students now lack: qualified teachers, a curriculum aligned with the standards, enough texts and/or materials to take home for homework, and clean and safe learning environments.

 

Function of the Education Justice Collaborative

The Education Justice Collaborative coordinates research, policy, and capacity building to better inform and equip its members to advocate for change. Since participant organizations have different primary constituencies (i.e. parents, teachers, community members, students, etc.) the collaborative brings together various groups, building relationships among a broad and diverse set of voices and providing a larger mechanism to enhance public pressure and support for its goals. The EJC’s mechanism for widespread communication is achieved through the following: 1) an intranet site for information-sharing and online discussions, 2) monthly focused conference calls, 3) coordinated retreats and meetings that bring together academics, policymakers and grassroots organizers to better understand key educational issues, 4) research dissemination about the problems confronting public education in formats that are widely accessible, 5) capacity building through hands-on workshops such as technology, legislative briefings, research, etc. The Collaborative continues to grow, providing a place where current and potential allies can interact around substantive work.

While the EJC itself does not undertake campaigns for change, many of its members do so, and the resources that the Collaborative provides fuel these efforts.

 

Current Allies and Support

The Education Justice Collaborative is currently funded by a generous grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Its current coordination is based out of UCLA’s Institute for Democracy, Education and Access (IDEA) and UCLA’s Program in Public Interest Law and Policy (PILP).

 

Participant organizations include:

  • ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) of Northern California
  • ACLU of Southern California
  • Advancement Project
  • Alliance for a Bettter Community
  • Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE)
  • Applied Research Center
  • Asian Pacific American Legal Center
  • Bay Area Coalition for Equitable Schools
  • Community Asset Development Re-defining Education
  • California Association for Bilingual Education
  • California Budget Project
  • California Tomorrow
  • Californians For Justice (CFJ)
  • Coalition for Educational Justice (CEJ)
  • Community Coalition
  • InnerCity Struggle
  • Justice Matters Institute
  • Latino Issues Forum
  • League of Women Voters of California
  • Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)
  • National Council of La Raza
  • Parent U-Turn
  • Parents for Unity/Padres Unidos
  • PICO California Project
  • PolicyLink
  • Public Advocates, Inc.

 

Process for New Allies to join the Education Justice Collaborative

The Education Justice Collaborative welcomes participation from groups already engaged in this arena, as well as potential constituencies that have not yet committed to statewide action on equity and more resources for all students. These would include activist and grassroots groups working on both a local and statewide level, advocacy and policy groups, educators, business interests, and unions. The Education Justice Collaborative recognizes that member groups will maintain their independent thinking and activities. We also believe, however, that there is great potential for collaboration around a common agenda. Interested groups should contact Julie Flapan at flapan@gseis.ucla.edu for more information.

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