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Commentary: Advocacy lessons from Upper Darby

By Nijmie Dzurinko on Jul 24, 2012 12:37 PM

A wave of “people power,” has been spreading through the Upper Darby School District. Although it’s right in our backyard, many of us may not be aware of the struggle that has much to teach us here in Philadelphia. 

Since the announcement of an “academic realignment plan” in  April and the school board’s vote to approve it in May, parents, students and teachers have engaged in intensive and strategic organizing. And the bottom line is that they succeeded in getting the District to back off some of the proposed changes and helped restore $2.7 million in state dollars that had been slated for elimination.

Greatness on the ground

By Nijmie Dzurinko on May 8, 2012 04:18 PM

“We have to believe in ourselves and we have to speak with one voice,” said Maurice Jones, on the opening afternoon panel of the recemt Teacher Action Group/OneVoice Philadelphia Citywide Education Summit and Curriculum Fair. Jones was one of many speakers who addressed the crowd of more than 100 people on history, lessons, strategies, and victories of transforming our schools from the ground up:

Public education as a human right

By Nijmie Dzurinko on Apr 26, 2012 02:34 PM

Please help us welcome our newest blogger, Nijmie Dzurinko, former executive director of Philadelphia Student Union.


In the blurry world of education reform, parents, students, educators, and communities need a guiding light to keep us on track. What could public education look like in our city and state if education was fundamentally a human right guaranteed in our society? How can we proceed in our efforts to improve public education using a human rights lens as a way of discerning the competing efforts, frames and messages that inundate us?

“This all sounds too broad. I’m concerned about my school, my family, my community, and I can’t get into the politics.”

If that was your internal voice just now, you may have lost sight of the fact that the most powerful architects of public school reform are taking it upon themselves to tackle big questions like the future of education in our society, how it will be delivered and to whom, who will benefit, and how the role of education will be understood by all of us. 

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