Public Education Network (PEN)

Legacy Collection

In 2012, Public Education Network (PEN) closed its doors after 21 years. PEN was a network of local education funds (LEFs) -- community based organizations in high poverty school districts across the United States -- that continue to work with their school districts and communities to improve public education for the nation's most disadvantaged children.

At the national level, PEN raised the importance of public engagement as an essential component of education reform. It brought the voice of LEFs and the communities they represent into the national education debate. Finally, PEN gave voice to the essential nature of the connection between quality public education and a healthy and thriving democracy.

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VUE: Civic Investment in Public Education Winter 2012, Number 32

November 4, 2011

The Annenberg Institute for School Reform (AISR) at Brown University partnered with Public Education Network to highlight the findings of PEN's National Commission on Civic Investment in Public Education, which met for 18 months and issued its final report in May, 2011. AISR dedicated its Winter 2012 issue of Voices in Urban Education (VUE) to the topic of civic investment in public education. The fifteen members of the National Commission for Civic Investment in Public Education have performed an extraordinary service for this nation and for America's schoolchildren. The Commission's work was ably led by co-chairs Richard W. Riley, former U.S. Secretary of Education (1993 -- 2001) and Linda Darling-Hammond, world-renowned education scholar and professor of education at Stanford University. Other members included leaders from the corporate, philanthropic, and nonprofit sectors; educators; researchers; and public education support organization leaders from around the country. Together they shared a commitment to expand civic knowledge and support of public education through citizen involvement. Contents:The National Commission for Civic Investment in Public Education by Wendy PuriefoyReaffirming the Dream: The Case for Civic Investment by Richard W. Riley and Linda Darling-HammondA Story of Civic Investment in Public Education by Susan V. BerresfordThe Right Funds for Reinvestment by Erwin de LeonA Failure of Philanthropy: American Charity Shortchanges the Poor, and Public Policy is Partly to Blame by Rob Reich

Who Helps Public Schools? Public Education Support Organizations in 2010

June 3, 2010

There were more than 19,000 nonprofit organizations devoted to supporting public education in the United States in 2007. These organizations include booster clubs, parent-teacher groups, public education funds, scholarship funds, high school alumni associations, and others. While most of these organizations are small, together they spent roughly $4.3 billion in support of public education in 2007.This report assesses the current status of education support organizations in the United States; provides details on the activities, capacities, and resources of public education funds; and compares Public Education Network (PEN) member organizations with other types of education funds. On the basis of a survey of public education funds and an analysis of the latest data available from the National Center for Charitable Statistics, the report identifies key similarities and differences among the groups.Public education funds are dedicated to assisting public schools and school districts by raising money to support programs for teacher training and support, after-school programs, and school supplies and by promoting community support for public schools. The project was commissioned by PEN in Washington, D.C.

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