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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An Appeal to All Americans: National Commission on Civic Investment in Public Education

May 24, 2011

A national commission comprised of top education and philanthropic leaders is calling with new urgency for an increase in the nation's commitment to and civic investment in public education. An Appeal to All Americans also represents the first national and independently authored report to outline standards of practice for public and local education funds.As federal and state governments make dramatic cuts to public education funding, the independent National Commission on Civic Investment in Public Education urges the public to redouble its efforts to ensure that the nation's public schools provide a high-quality education for all young people.The Commission, created by Public Education Network (PEN), was charged with making a renewed case for civic investment, highlighting the work of organizations that can build and channel that investment, and developing standards for the rapidly-rising number of citizendriven, local public education assistance organizations - local education funds (LEFs), school foundations, etc. - working throughout our nation to improve public schools.

Case Study: Teacher Evaluation Alliance for Education

May 15, 2007

The Alliance for Education, the Seattle-based local education fund (LEF), has focused its efforts on teaching quality issues since participating in the Annenberg Teacher Quality initiative in 2001. The Alliance's work began with a grassroots effort to engage the community, especially those who had been traditionally disenfranchised, around what it would take to for teachers to provide high quality instruction, and how the public could support teaching quality in Seattle. The Alliance aimed to build trust between the "community and the classroom" because it perceived that a lack of trust could undermine reform initiatives. In addition to listening to the community, the Alliance worked strategically with key stakeholders in the district (e.g., the union, district office, parent-teacher association, university fellows, etc.) to understand and accomplish its reform goals.

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