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July 11, 2012 standard

Photo courtesy of Grassroots Education Project of DC

As Dropout Nation mentioned in today’s Building a Culture of Genius commentary, there is a real need to finance innovative high-tech and grassroots reform efforts — especially in an age in which major donors are more-concerned about scale than building up initiatives that have the potential for success (and are often achieving results). We are doing our part to help crowdfund grassroots reform. For the past month, DN has run its Summer of Grassroots Reform campaign, identifying and championing Parent Power groups, literacy initiatives, charter school startups, and other activities that deserve your support. And here are some of the ventures:

  • The Connecticut Parents Union and its predecessor organization, the State of Black CT Alliance, have played a powerful role in spurring reform in the Nutmeg State and in developing the nation’s Parent Power movement. From working with local parents groups in Hartford, to teaming up with national organizations to spur teacher quality reforms, CTPU has been doing much with so little. Sign up today to become a Champion of Parent Power member. And donate to one of the most-important grassroots reform efforts taking place. Dropout Nation will be featuring the Connecticut Parents Union later today as part of the launch of its Summer of Grassroots Reform campaign. (By the Way: Dropout Nation Editor RiShawn Biddle is a CTPU advisory board member; Samuel is a DN Contributing Editor.)
  • Over the past three years, the D.C.-based Grassroots Education Project has helped transform Tubman Elementary School by working with some of the nation’s capitol’s poorest kids on improving their literacy and provide a nurturing physical environment for them to attend school. The work, started by Adam Barr, Jonathan Elkin, and Mark D’Agostino is important — and you should help. Volunteer to tutor or help clean up the school if you live in the D.C. area. And donate some books and other materials to help them help our kids succeed.
  • Since 2005, LaToniya A. Jones and her P.O.W.E.R the Youth have helped children in Detroit improve their math and science literacy. As part of its work, the organization has also pushed for folks on the ground to stamp out the innumeracy that causes so many kids to fall behind and eventually, drop out. Donate to P.O.W.E.R, and if you live in Detroit, become one of its volunteers.
  • Keeping kids living in New York City above 110th Street on the path to lifelong success has been the goal of the Harlem Link Charter School since it opened its doors seven years ago. And its founder, Steve Evangelista has worked hard to build connections between his kids and the teachers working in the school — even after they leave for middle school. Support Harlem Link with your donation.
  • As a English teacher at Mt. Zion High School in Jonesboro, Ga., Shekema Silveri helped bring college-preparatory learning (and even nurtured social activism) in minority kids generally not considered worthy of high-quality education. Now, Silveri, a 2011 Lowell Milken Center fellow, is launching her own charter school to help even more kids gain the knowledge needed for success. (Dropout Nation Editor RiShawn Biddle is on the advisory board.) Support her new charter startup today and even volunteer to serve on its board.
  • And in Milwaukee, former teacher and school leader Tomeko Jordan-Obregon’s Milwaukee Center for Leadership Development is working to help young black men and women get ready for the knowledge-based future. And with a board that includes school reformer and Wisconsin state Rep. Jason Fields, she is getting the job done. Give MCLD a helping hand.

E-mail Dropout Nation about other grassroots reform efforts that deserve attention and support; also subscribe toDN’s e-newsletter for updates on new groups we have found four times a week. And thank you for doing all you can to advance systemic reform.