The Alliance for Educational Justice (AEJ) is a partnership between 28 youth-led and youth-based organizations across the nation who work with local and federal policymakers to transform public education to a system that equally prepares all students – regardless of race or socioeconomic status – for college, meaningful employment, and full participation in democracy. We have approximately 1,000 youth in our ranks: alliance for educational justice, alliance, education, educational, justice, school-to-prison pipeline, AEJ, STPP, AEJ.
Who We Are
The Alliance for Educational Justice (AEJ) is a national collective of approximately 30 intergenerational and youth organizing groups across the nation that work with local and federal policymakers to transform public education to a system that equally prepares all students – regardless of race or socioeconomic status – for college, meaningful employment, and full participation in democracy. We have approximately 1,000 high school-aged youth leaders of color in our membership.
What We Do
- Collaborate with parents, teachers and other stakeholders around a national reform agenda centered on education justice.
- Promote leadership among people who are directly impacted by the erosion of public education, especially young people.
- Build the capacity of our movement to sustain its work over the long haul through leadership development, trainings, and collaboration.
- Align our movement-building efforts with other struggles for humanity, equality, and justice.
By tying education money (loans) to standardized test scores, federal policy keeps adequate funding out of the reach of students who demonstrate the most need. While White, middle-class students flourish in state-of-the-art facilities with advanced learning tools and the most experienced teachers, poor Black and Latino youth across town wither away in overcrowded classrooms with broken technology, outdated textbooks, and educators who aren’t certified.
Extreme discipline policies and practices have made schools direct pipelines to prison for hundreds of thousands of young people of color. Due to implicit bias and cultural unfamiliarity, discipline policies are often applied inconsistently and students of color are punished more harshly than White students for the same behavior. Federal data shows Black youth are more than three times as likely than White youth to be suspended from school. Black and Latino students account for approximately 70% of school-based arrests nationwide.
Mass School Closures
Fueled by federal school improvement grants, cities across the nation are closing schools in low-income and Black neighborhoods, disproportionately robbing these students of equitable access to education and denying them the opportunity to reach their full potential. Young people displaced from schools are forced to travel unfamiliar routes to attend schools in neighborhoods that don’t want them there. What’s worse, their new schools often perform just as poorly as the ones they came from.
We fight for:
- Public education that develops conscious world citizens with liberated minds; invests deeply and equitably in all students regardless of race or class; and prepares all young people for college, meaningful employment, and full participation in democracy.
- Public school districts that work in favor of community good and actively include youth and parent voices in governance. Neighborhood schools that serve as hubs for critical thinking and vehicles through which people can engage with their communities.
- Public schools where all young people are treated with dignity and respect, free from harmful student discipline policies that perpetuate the school-to-prison pipeline and fuel the over-criminalization and over-incarceration of youth of color.
Ending the School-to-Prison Pipeline
Since our inception we have worked to harness the energy of our local campaigns to end the school-to-prison pipeline to move policy at the federal level.
Our members have represented the youth voice in spaces with the Departments of Education and Justice and played a key role in shaping the Supportive School Discipline Initiative that encourages the use of school discipline practices that promote safe, supportive and productive learning environments. As part of this initiative, the federal agencies have issued policy and legal guidance on school climate and discipline to local districts and they continue to track the data.
We are currently engaged in federal advocacy for legislation that requires local, state, and federal governments to annually collect and report school discipline data and fund positive alternatives to suspensions and expulsions, such as restorative justice and peer mediation.
Youth Justice Corps.
On December 18, 2014, Youth Justice Corps leaders and young people across the country held demonstrations and die-ins to resist and protest state violence against youth of color.
The National Youth Action to End State Violence was organized by the Alliance for Educational Justice, Community Justice Network for Youth, and Journey for Justice Alliance in solidarity with communities across the country currently taking to the streets to raise consciousness around police violence against people of color. It also represents the first formal indictment of the public education system as agents of state violence.