Our vision is a society where all students, regardless of income, race, immigration status, native language, gender, sexual orientation, parental status, or abilities, have access to high-quality, equitable, and democratically controlled public education. We envision an educational system that addresses the needs of the whole student, supporting their physical, social, and emotional development. In this future, every student thrives, reaching their full potential and becoming creative, compassionate participants who actively contribute to transforming society in the direction of equity. Our focus is on promoting civil rights and dismantling systemic barriers to ensure educational justice for all.
The New Bedford Coalition to Save Our Schools (NBCSOS) is dedicated to safeguarding and enhancing public education in New Bedford and beyond. As a grassroots organization, we bring together a diverse coalition of families, students, education and non-education workers (both unionized and nonunionized), elected officials, and community advocates. United in our commitment to building a leader-full movement, we strive to implement effective campaigns and drive social change.
Our mission recognizes the interdependent nature of strong communities and excellent schools. We understand that thriving communities create the foundation for great schools, and in turn, great schools contribute to the strength and vitality of our communities. Through collective action, we empower individuals to shape their communities and education systems for the better. We engage in political education, lobbying efforts, and political activism, supporting candidates who champion the cause of education justice and the well-being of our communities.
By actively shaping public discourse, we foster an understanding that high-quality public education necessitates democratically controlled systems that address the holistic needs of every student. We emphasize the importance of collective anti-oppression organizing. Our movement grows organically, catalyzing transformative change in the educational landscape by amplifying the voices of those profoundly impacted by regressive educational policies. Our ultimate goal is to foster personal growth, raise awareness of systemic oppression, and cultivate agency and commitment to challenge these systems.
In summary, our mission is to protect and strengthen public education in New Bedford and the Greater New Bedford area. We empower individuals to create a just and equitable educational system through grassroots organizing. By working tirelessly towards education justice, we contribute to the overall well-being and prosperity of our communities, recognizing the mutually reinforcing relationship between strong communities and excellent schools.
In 2018, the New Bedford Coalition to Save Our Schools (NBCSOS) emerged as a powerful grassroots organization committed to safeguarding and enhancing public education in New Bedford and beyond. From the very beginning, NBCSOS has been driven by a deep dedication to democratic principles, equitable access to education, and dismantling systemic barriers to educational justice.
Our journey began by actively engaging with the community and listening to the needs, wants, and experiences of families, youth, parents, guardians, and grandparents. NBCSOS leadership held inclusive meetings in public housing, ensured translators were present at every gathering, and even provided childcare when needed. By creating a collective identity and making decisions together as a coalition, we fostered an environment where every member felt respected, heard, and empowered. Our mantra, "Nothing about us without us," became the guiding principle of our resistance, emphasizing increased equity, inclusion, and activism in all our endeavors.
The Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA) and the New Bedford Educators Association (NBEA) joined NBCSOS as members, forming a seamless relationship based on a shared commitment to democratic principles and quality public education. The merger between our organizations removed barriers and contributed to the success of our resistance efforts. While local news recognized the critical role played by unions, we acknowledge that credit is due to the mothers, fathers, grandparents, students, and teachers who spoke up and fought tirelessly for the common good.
Campaign success was made possible by the dedication of New Bedford families and educators who went above and beyond the scope of their professions. Whether it was bringing children to meetings, engaging in conversations over pizza and coloring books, canvassing and gathering petition signatures on weekends, or writing op-eds and letters to elected officials on weeknights, our members showed their unwavering commitment to effecting positive change in our public education system.
Leadership and Organizational Structure
NBCSOS operates as a volunteer-driven organization, drawing leadership from diverse backgrounds and experiences. The coalition brings together families, students, education and non-education workers (both unionized and nonunionized), elected officials, and community advocates. With a steering committee and a general membership, NBCSOS fosters a leader-full movement that empowers individuals at all levels to shape their communities and education systems for the better.
At the core of NBCSOS's theory of change lies the recognition of the interdependence between strong communities and excellent schools. We believe that thriving communities provide the foundation for great schools, while great schools contribute to the strength and vitality of communities. By amplifying the voices of those profoundly impacted by regressive educational policies, NBCSOS aims to catalyze transformative change in the educational landscape.
Since its inception, NBCSOS has achieved significant milestones in the pursuit of education justice. Through community forums, rallies, small action dialogues, film screenings, op-eds, and more, we successfully organized a resistance against charter expansion, saving New Bedford Public Schools(NBPS) an estimated 35 million dollars, and engaged the public in vital discussions on public education and privatization. By ensuring accessibility and inclusivity, we actively involved families and community members in our resistance efforts. In addition to resisting privatization, NBCSOS has secured additional funding for NBPS, initiated an overhaul of the food service department, amplified community voices in decision-making processes, and partnered with NBPS to develop an equity plan and reimagine school safety.
NBCSOS continues to have a meaningful impact on the educational landscape. With over 150 active members, our coalition remains dedicated to direct action and advocacy, working tirelessly to protect public schools from privatization and promote quality education. NBCSOS provides various opportunities for engagement and transformation, including community action dialogues on education and social justice issues, the empowering SOUL Academy for youth, professional development for educators, and support for political candidates who align with the cause of education justice. The coalition collaborates with other social and racial justice organizations to combat structural and systemic racism in the education system.
NBCSOS champions a comprehensive agenda for social change, encompassing various issues that impact education and society at large. Under the banner of the "Save Our Schools Campaign," our coalition advocates for transformative actions on issues outlined under our Platform Priorities. Each year, our specific issue focus may vary to align with community needs.
Participate and Contact Us
To join NBCSOS in advancing equity and social justice in our schools, we invite you to reach out to us or attend our monthly meetings. All individuals are welcome and encouraged to be part of the movement towards a just and equitable educational system. Join NBCSOS in shaping the future of public education and advancing social justice. Together, we can build thriving communities and excellent schools for all.