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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Paterson Education Fund: Findings from a Citywide Survey of 400 Adults in Paterson, NJ - 2010

November 10, 2010

Interview dates: March 30 - April 8, 2010. The survey reached 400 adults in Paterson, NJ. The data were weighted slightly by gender and age, in order to ensure that it accurately reflects the demographic configuration of the Paterson population.Margin of error (MOE) for the sample is +/- 4.9 percentage points. The MOE is larger when analyzing data for subgroups (race, gender, region).This presentation also reports on data from 2008 Civic Index study in order to allow a comparison of trends. The 2008 data is from the Paterson Civic Index poll of 400 adults conducted February 27-March 3, 2008 (MOE is the same).

Civic Index for Education

Paterson Education Fund Index Survey: Findings from a Citywide Survey of 400 Adults in Paterson, NJ - 2008

April 1, 2008

Lake Research Partners designed and administered this survey, which was conducted by phone using professional interviewers. The survey reached a base sample of 400 adults in Paterson, New Jersey.The survey was conducted February 27-March 3, 2008.Interviews were conducted in both Spanish and English, with 67% of interviews among Latinos in Spanish.The margin of error for this sample of 400 adults in Paterson is +/-4.9 percentage points.

Civic Index for Education

Getting Communities Involved in Improving Sexual Health Education

March 1, 2002

Since 1994, Public Education Network (PEN) has been working with local education funds (LEFs) to engage communities in developing comprehensive school health programs in public schools. The effort follows a research-supported eight-component model developed by CDC, the federal agency funding the initiative.According to CDC, a comprehensive school health program must have the following elements:Health EducationPhysical EducationHealth ServicesNutrition ServicesHealth Promotion for StaffCounseling and Psychological ServicesHealthy School EnvironmentParent/Community InvolvementUsing these criteria, PEN asked eight LEFs to survey and assess the level of school health programs in their communities and to create plans to either establish or enhance comprehensive school health programs. In 1995, six of these sites received three-year implementation grants.In the 1999-2000 school year, five of the six sites received funds for assessing the capacity of their communities to address and sustain commitments to their comprehensive school health initiatives beyond the life of the PEN grants. These LEFs are located in Buffalo, NY; Lancaster, PA; McKeesport (MonValley), PA; Paterson, NJ; and Atlanta, GA. This edition of Lessons from the Field summarizes the work of four of these LEFs so that others might learn from their experiences.

Quality Now! Results of National Conversations on Education and Race

October 27, 2000

"Quality Now! Results of National Conversations on Education and Race" chronicles the experiences of eight communities that convened conversations about education and race involving nearly 1000 participants in more than 60 public forums across the country. "Quality Now!" is a set of strategies and hands-on tools intended to encourage and assist communities interested in holding their own conversations on education and race. By sharing the challenges, lessons learned, and outcomes from the eight initial sites, PEN and Public Agenda hope to amplify and sustain an important dialogue on the critical -- but often hidden -- intersection of education and race. The eight local education funds that sponsored events and forums included:Fund for Educational Excellence - Baltimore, MDForward in the Fifth - Berea, KYEducation Fund for Greater Buffalo - Buffalo, NYPublic Education and Business Coalition - Denver, COPartners in Public Education - Grand Rapids, MIHattiesburg Area Education Foundation - Hattiesburg, MSMarcus A. Foster Educational Institute - Oakland, CAPaterson Education Foundation - Paterson, NJThe efforts in these eight communities generated serious discussion among residents about what kind of communities they would like to inhabit, what kind of education they feel their children need, and what changes in the status quo they will support.

Helping Families Improve Local Schools: High-Achieving Schools in Low-Income Communities

June 1, 1999

Increasing the involvement of caregivers, parents, and families in their children's education is a key to improving the academic success of our nation's public school students. The positive impact of family interest and participation in schools is well documented. However, more opportunities for meaningful involvement are needed, and many barriers still remain. A recently released study by Public Agenda found that most teachers rate parental involvement at their school as "fair" or "poor." In particular, educators and other practitioners continue to struggle with how to involve all parents in supporting all students' high achievement. Organizations like local education funds (LEFs) focus attention, support, and resources on communities where student achievement is often low, stresses on families are high, and schools lack the basics.But what does "involvement" mean?How can parents and other family members with limited resources of money, time, and formal education be equipped to grapple with the myriad issues that affect student achievement and overall school performance? During 1998, the Public Education Networkf orged a partnership with Kraft Foods and member local education funds to explore key questions about family involvement. The result of this effort was the creation of a variety of local strategies to support high student achievement in low-income schools.

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