Families for Excellent Schools Moves from NYC to Boston

Since 2011, Families for Excellent Schools has been helping parents fight for excellent education for their children. Its goal is to enable and empower parents to speak out for education, rather than to speak for them. However, much of their reputation has been built upon pushing for charter school in New York City.

Now the non-profit has quietly opened an office in Boston and people are speculating if they will do the same in their new city, reports James Vaznis for The Boston Globe.

According to their website Families for Excellent Schools uses 4 key strategies to gain success:

  1. We partner with schools to develop a solid base of institutional support in their work with families.
  2. We train and develop parent leaders, who plan and lead our work over time.
  3. We grow neighborhood chapters and a city-wide organizing committee, which leads our campaigns and engagement efforts in their neighborhoods. These chapters work at the local level to build sustained support for key educational reforms.
  4. Our members organize one other into action through legislative and electoral campaigns.

The non-profit helped expand education reform in Connecticut, secured 46 public charter schools and helped protect the current charter funding in New York City in just 2 years. The organization supports six neighborhood chapters in Connecticut and New York City with over 1,000 parents involved, according to The Walton Family Foundation.

Executive officer for FES says that their focus is not on charter school expansion or any singular focus, for that matter, but instead their goal is to work with parents to address issues that they believe are important including matters such as funding, outdated facilities, and safety problems.

Kitteredge is only 26 but he has already worked with parents in 65 charter schools across New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to empower them to become educational advocates for their children. Before he worked with FES he worked as a public school teacher and SEIU, a union of service worker with 2 million members, according to Forbes.

FES is joins the likes of Stand for Children and Democrats for Education Reform in Boston as an out of state organization with a pro-charter agenda. Massachusetts attracts groups of this nature because of the state’s efforts to improve education standards for the past 2 years, greatly improving standards and exam scores.

Massachusetts has also been a key player in leading the charter-school movement, which makes it a seemly perfect fit for FES. The organization launched a campaign called Charters Work in early 2014 to build support for charter schools, promoting the idea that charters provide students with an excellent education that they would not otherwise receive.

However, despite the states history the Massachusetts Senate rejected a bill that would have allowed more charter schools to open in low-performing areas including Boston.

Opponents of charter expansion include Richard Stuntman, president of the Boston Teachers Union. He is wary of the non-profit’s move to Boston.

[He] said Families for Excellent Schools is “just one more organization that is seeking to exploit the charter school privatization movement.