Today is kind of like my first day of school—six years in the making.
I have seen firsthand how great schools can change everything. And I know that ensuring every child in America has access to a great public school will take an unprecedented advocacy effort: first by identifying local education champions in the states, and then by partnering with them in building lasting local movements that effectively advocate for the proven state policies that get results for kids.
That is why I am proud to announce the official launch of a new nonprofit organization called 50CAN: The 50-State Campaign for Achievement Now.
50CAN’s mission is to identify and support local leaders who build movements within their states to ensure that every child has access to a great public school. As 50CAN board member and National Council of La Raza Senior Vice President Delia Pompa says on our new website, “The job going forward is to create a larger podium for those who are guided by the interests of children.”
That’s what 50CAN is all about. We provide amazing local leaders with the tools to build powerful advocacy movements in their state, including national-caliber communications and research such as websites, lobbying strategies, policy expertise and social media savvy. By empowering local leaders, we are helping create a lasting, research-grounded education reform movement capable of tackling 50 sets of education policy challenges in 50 states.
We began our work six years ago in Connecticut. When we first set up ConnCAN in 2005, we found ourselves in the middle of an education reform desert. More than 30,000 members, 500 media stories, 30 research reports and nine major policy victories later we’ve proven that changing the status quo can be the expectation not the exception, even in the toughest political climates.
Now 50CAN is using what we learned in Connecticut to support the work of amazing education reform leaders in four other states: Minnesota’s Vallay Varro, Rhode Island’s Maryellen Butke, New York’s Christina Grant and Maryland’s Curtis Valentine. We will add 21 more state leaders to this growing network by 2015.
Our vision is an education reform movement that is more local, more collaborative, more creative and more accountable to the public and the families we serve. We want our campaigns to be judged not just by the laws they pass in a given year, but the lives they change over the long run.
Click here to learn about Vallay’s, Maryellen’s, Christina’s and Curtis’ stories on our newly launched website: www.50CAN.org. We need your support to grow this movement, so please take a few minutes to explore our new website, learn what we’re all about and share it with your friends.
Working together we can build a truly local and lasting education reform movement to make sure that every child has access to a great public school. Because great schools change everything.