January 2011

At the request of the Nellie Mae Foundation (NMEF), AISR staff examined the growing body of literature on community organizing to understand how this strategy fits into systemic education reform. The research shows that community organizing for school reform has the potential to create equitable changes in schools and districts, develop innovative education solutions that reflect the knowledge of under-served communities, and build the long-term social capital of under-served communities both to support schools and districts and to hold them accountable for improving achievement.

In addition to reviewing the literature, AISR staff also scanned the field of community organizing in New England. The result of our scan is a directory of fifty community organizations involved in New England education reform. Looking across these organizations we learned that strong networks exist at the city, regional, and even national level and that many community organizations with strong capacity in organizing and engagement are considering education work as a next step.