Our Impact: EdLaw Stats and More
I am, somehow, less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein’s brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops.”
- Stephen Jay Gould, science writer and educator.
Reflecting on the year, we are closing out 2017 with gratitude and renewed resolve in our fight for justice. In our current American landscape, one could easily apply Gould’s observation to the streets and the prison system. How many of the kids experiencing criminalization instead of education would otherwise have futures as doctors, teachers, engineers, entrepreneurs? Our work at the Youth Advocacy Foundation is not just about preventing children from getting pushed out of school and into the courts and jail; we are zealously fighting for a vision that all youth receive the support and resources they need for a real opportunity at a bright future. Investing in their future potential must include ensuring equitable access to a high quality public education.
We have our work cut out for us here in Massachusetts. Although we have the lowest youth imprisonment rates in the country, we are the third worst in terms of racial inequities of which kids get locked up. Our state is heralded as having the best public schools in the nation; however, our schools are among the most segregated—racially and economically. The movement to transform our commonwealth and nation so that all may benefit from our shared social institutions and systems starts with you. Whether you have been involved for years, or are recently joining, we all share the belief that a good education is the common denominator for future success, both at the individual and community level. You all make our work possible and together we are making bold strides toward the future we envision for all children.
Across Massachusetts, schools and districts are unfairly excluding some children from the public education to which they are legally entitled. Through the inappropriate use of suspensions, expulsions, and failures to meet the unique learning needs of kids with disabilities or trauma histories, these schools are sending the message to our young people that they don’t belong at school. We are determined to change that message. The EdLaw Project is our team of everyday superheroes who stand with Massachusetts youth and fight for their rights to education. This incredible team of attorneys is on the front lines of fighting for education justice and working to end the School-to-Prison Pipeline. The fight is here, and the time is now. We cannot do this without you. Together we can abolish the School-to-Prison Pipeline and progress toward a future where all children are nurtured and supported to succeed at school.
On behalf of the YAF-EdLaw family, we wish you a very happy holiday season. Thank you very much.