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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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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