The Schott Foundation and its philanthropic partners have launched a five-year, multi-million dollar Opportunity To Learn grantmaking strategy to increase resource accountability and ensure that race is no longer a significant predictor of educational resource access or outcomes. The Schott Foundation is managing a collaborative grantmaking strategy to build the public will to increase the number of states that adopt an “Opportunity To Learn” reform framework and create a federal right to an Opportunity To Learn.
The Opportunity To Learn (OTL) frame is focused on resource accountability—ensuring that all students have a guaranteed right to four core resources needed to provide a fair and substantive Opportunity To Learn.
Research clearly indicates that performance outcomes are higher and more equitable when a child has:
(1) access to highly effective teachers;
(2) early childhood education;
(3) college preparatory curricula; and
(4) equitable instructional resources.
The state and federal components involve grantmaking in six major strategic funding areas:
(1) Organizing and Messaging to Build Public Will;
(2) Supporting Policy Reform;
(3) Research and Data Collection;
(5) Increasing Representative Leadership Development; and
(6) Voter Engagement.
The Schott Foundation for Public Education will implement a five-year concentrated philanthropic strategy to seek adoption of the OTL resource accountability frame in at least seven nationally significant states—ultimately seeking to establish a federal right to an “Opportunity To Learn” for all students. Initial state work was focused on New York and Massachusetts, where Schott and philanthropic partners have leveraged tremendous fiscal and organizing resources. During 2010, the top priority states being considered for expansion are Arkansas (as part of an expanded southern strategy) and Pennsylvania. Potential future expansion states include Mississippi, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Ohio.
The smaller federal OTL component will involve an effort to integrate the Opportunity To Learn frame into the federal education landscape, beginning with inclusion of Common Resource Standards in the federal reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), leading to the creation of a federal right to an Opportunity to Learn.
Over the next five years, the Opportunity to Learn Fund will build the campaign’s capacity to achieve the following seven general objectives:
The OTL Campaign is a collaborative philanthropic strategy, using grants to organizations and closely managing the implementation to produce a coordinated state-based and national campaign with measurable desired programmatic and policy outcomes.