The New Bedford Coalition to Save Our Schools is primarily made up of families, students, and educators. We are committed to protecting public education and strengthening our community. Our mission is to create caring schools that work to support the development of students so that they become creative, compassionate participants who are capable and willing to transform society in the direction of equity. This past year, the coalition organized a successful resistance against charter expansion.
NBCSOS held community forums, rallies, small action dialogues, and film screenings of “A Backpack Full of Cash” throughout the city and canvassed homes to discuss public education and privatization. But our success did not hinge on the sheer number of spaces that we created for important dialogue.
It was much more a result of accessibility and authenticity.
We held meetings in public housing, had translators at every meeting and event, and even provided childcare when needed. We listened to families: youth, parents, guardians, and grandparents about their needs, wants, and experiences. We created a collective identity and always determined “next steps” together as a coalition. Many members took on leadership roles, forming various subcommittees, or leading particular actions.
It was incredibly important to ensure that nobody was left out of conversations that would shape our schools and that members felt respected, heard, and empowered. “Nothing about us without us” became a popular mantra throughout the resistance.
In other words, participation was conceived within a context of increased equity, inclusion, and activism.
"Your story is a great story of successful resistance!"
Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education, Diane Ravitch,
on the 2018-2019 charter expansion deal
The Massachusetts Teachers Association and the New Bedford Educators Association joined NBCSOS as members. The relationship between NBCSOS and MTA was seamless because of a shared commitment to democratic principles and quality public education. The merger between the organizations lifted many barriers contributing to the successful resistance.
Local news has recognized the critical role MTA played; however, the mothers, fathers, grandparents, students, and teachers deserve credit.
In order to participate, mothers often had to bring their children to meetings. Conversations were had over pizza and coloring books. In order to make change, members needed to work beyond the scope of their professions: Weekends involved canvassing and gathering petition signatures and weeknights involved writing op-eds and letters to elected officials.
Campaign success was because of New Bedford families and teachers speaking up and rolling up their shirtsleeves to fight for a public good.