Advocacy Spotlight: Advancement Project
Updated: Oct 29, 2018
After talking about the negative effects of the school-to-prison pipeline, it is important to consider the positive contributions certain groups are making to stop this process. I chose to highlight the Advancement Project, because not only does it focus on the school-to-prison pipeline issues in the United States, it also gives people a chance to get involved at the local level for various other causes on the Advancement Project Website:
· Policing and Criminalization
Their mission states: " Advancement Project is a next generation, multi-racial civil rights organization. Rooted in the great human rights struggles for equality and justice, we exist to fulfill America’s promise of a caring, inclusive and just democracy. We use innovative tools and strategies to strengthen social movements and achieve high impact policy change."
What is unique about this organization is that it is working to stop racism and implicit bias within various types of justice systems. What I also like about Advancement Project is that it is about local people changing their local communities. They are creating movements to change the social climate of the United States overall and get people's attention about these important issues in a peaceful manner. When Michelle Alexander wrote The New Jim Crow in 2012, she described how important grassroots campaigns are to bring people together at a local level to create change. These changes will not happen overnight with the damage the school-to-prison pipeline is inflicting on the United States, but people are taking notice and supporting the movement.
On a more national level, the Advancement Project creates a space for people to talk about tough issues concerning race. Additionally, the organization was founded by civil rights lawyers and other activists who see the importance of creating social movements for issues like the school-to-prison pipeline.
Advancement Project and Combating the School-to-Prison Pipeline
The Advancement Project contains a campaign and news section about relevant topics concerning the school-to-prison pipeline. For example, “ 6 Things You Need to Know About School Policing” discusses concerns about school policing. Issues include: some schools are investing in police at expense of the students, police in schools is on the rise, policing is rooted in a historical context to oppress people of color, and police in schools do not necessarily make students feel safer.
The Advancement Project does a good job of providing explicit and research-based articles. It keeps its website current with the latest news and legislative updates on the issue. There are also graphics and images within their articles that make them easier to understand. Besides articles, the organization also provides website visitors with many other resources like fact sheets and videos. For example, This is a great school-to-prison pipeline brochure you can download and explore. Here is where an infographic about the school-to-prison pipeline can be easily downloaded and shared with colleagues, activists, teachers, administrative staff, and schools.
The video above goes into more detail about the history of the organization and its role as an activist group. I appreciate that the leaders of this organization come from different racial backgrounds and areas of privilege to work to stop the school-to-prison pipeline. The video highlights the importance of empowering young people and having them realize how critical it is that they get involved. The Advancement Project video additionally discusses Jim Crow laws and voting rights. The discussion of the importance of voting could not be more pressing as mid-term elections are approaching.
Questions and Topics Teachers Need to Consider
What are some ways teachers can teach students about the privilege of voting? How do you think it is best to discuss the history of voting of women to students that identify as female? Next, how do we get male students interested in helping support women rights issues? Also, how do we discuss poll taxes and literacy tests with students in relation to how it is harder for some groups of people to vote today (After all incarcerated youth and people are disenfranchised and lose the right to vote once they are labeled as “criminal”)? Additionally, how do we get students researching issues that affect their own lives at school? Please critically think about these issues and feel free to comment below! I think social studies in schools needs to do more to teach civic duty when discussing the structure of local government in the third-grade teaching standards in North Carolina, for instance.
The Advancement Project has also stated its partnership with the Alliance for Educational Justice (AEJ). Check out and feel free to like their Facebook page to learn how both organizations are discussing school-to-prison pipeline issues!
Do you know any other great organizations or individuals that are activists to stop the school-to-prison pipeline? Please comment them below!